Criminal justice and the technological revolution

COVID-19 has prompted a profound shift in the use of technology in criminal justice systems around the world. Responses to the pandemic have either hastened or complemented longer-term initiatives to digitalize. How can this progress be built upon and accelerated even further to transform service?

Justice leaders in Canada, Australia, India, Ireland, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have been using technology in innovative ways to address the impact of the pandemic on their justice systems. These efforts have increased enthusiasm about the benefits of technology, as well as optimism about what is possible.

But nearly half the senior justice leaders we surveyed are dissatisfied with the use of technology and believe there’s much more to be done. And there’s recognition of the danger of returning to traditional solutions and risk aversion.

Justice system leaders must now think in terms of nurturing digital ecosystems that can constantly evolve to meet the needs of different service users and keep up with the dizzying pace of technological innovation. Policymakers, operational delivery teams, and technologists from various organizations will need to collaborate seamlessly to create better experiences for the people —and to embrace open, agile ways of working that can feel deeply unfamiliar and challenging.

The challenge is complex. In this paper, we explore the three fundamental cornerstones for the approach we propose, as well as what’s needed to succeed. It also outlines three exciting opportunities—digital twins to reduce court backlogs, virtual prisons, and virtual rehabilitation—to see the change in action.

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