Uses of technology and visions of digital justice are prominent in discussion of the future of criminal justice. New apps, devices and wearable tech, platforms, electronic monitoring and information sharing capabilities warrant thoughtful consideration. The forms and functions of technology within criminal justice must be understood in context – how, why, with whom and by whom it is used matters. Against a backdrop of swollen prison populations and budgetary constraints, governments and justice policymakers are increasingly interested in how electronic monitoring and other technologies may be used to reduce the use of imprisonment, including a form of diversion, as early release from prison and as a condition of parole. This paper showcases international evidence and experiences, incorporating the findings of research on electronic monitoring tagging technologies in Europe. Practitioner perspectives are featured to offer real-world firsthand insights into key issues. Using technology can involve positive outcomes as well as restrictions of liberty and privacy for people with convictions and, simultaneously, it may affect the focus of supervision and scope of practitioners’ work. Technology can be used within punitive approaches centered on control, risk and restrictive surveillance, or it can be integrated as a feature within more rehabilitative and reintegrative approaches where supervision and social supports are oriented towards enabling desistance from crime. Ultimately, advances in digital justice and criminal justice need to be socially just, pursuing ethical and effective uses of technology with respect for the individual, families and communities involved.
Dr Hannah Graham
Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Lecturer in Criminology
Biography: Dr Hannah Graham is a Lecturer in Criminology in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) at the University of Stirling, UK.
Her research interests centre on a few areas: punishment and criminal justice, particularly community sanctions and measures and seeking to reduce the use of prison; understanding and supporting rehabilitation, desistance and reintegration processes; and innovation, creativity and justice. Her research in Australia and Scotland has involved spending time in a range of settings: from courts, to probation and community corrections services, private sector electronic monitoring services, prisons, drug rehabs, social enterprises and community sector settings, as well as working with governments and policymakers.
Hannah is the author of three books published internationally by Routledge: ‘Rehabilitation Work: Supporting Desistance and Recovery’ (Graham, 2016), ‘Innovative Justice’ (Graham & White, 2015), and ‘Working with Offenders: A Guide to Concepts and Practices’ (White & Graham, 2010). She is an Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Probation (SAGE), together with Ioan Durnescu, Fergus McNeill and Martine Herzog-Evans. From 2006-2014, Hannah worked in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Twitter: @DrHannahGraham