Skip to main content Skip to sitemap
Criminal justice - reoffending statistics

28 November 2023

Can technology pave the way to a future without reoffending

In the UK, the revolving door of the criminal justice system is a pressing issue, with recidivism rates remaining stubbornly high. Statistics reveal that on average 2 in 5 adults released from prison reoffend within a year and with an estimated annual cost of £18 billion.  These daunting figures not only highlights the challenges of rehabilitation and the corresponding economic consequences, but it also asks the questions -what can be done to help promote rehabilitation? Can technology be the key to breaking this cycle of reoffending?

The incorporation of technology within prison walls offers a beacon of hope. From educational enhancements to innovative rehabilitative practices, technology is reshaping the approach to reducing reoffending.

Educational and vocational training

One of the most effective tools against recidivism is education. Online learning platforms and digital libraries offer prisoners the opportunity to continue their education, learn new skills and prepare for employment post-release. Vocational training programs, supported by interactive software and simulations, allow prisoners to gain practical skills in various trades, significantly improving their employability.

Empowerment through choice and movement

A key aspect of rehabilitation is empowering prisoners with a sense of autonomy and responsibility. Technologies that allow prisoners to make choices and have controlled physical movement within the prison can be instrumental. For instance, systems such as Tephra Cell Control enable prisoners to lock and unlock their own cells at specific times provide a sense of control and responsibility. Although this system can be overridden by prison staff at any time, it allows prisoners to exercise a degree of independence, fostering positive behaviour and a greater sense of well-being.

Similarly, controlled movement within the prison using biometric systems can promote responsible behaviour. By allowing prisoners movement within certain areas based on biometric identification, prisons can encourage independence while the security and good order of moving prisoners remains reliable, controlled, robust and secure.

Monitoring and aftercare support

Post-release, technology continues to play a role in preventing recidivism. Electronic monitoring can help authorities ensure compliance with parole conditions. Additionally, apps and online platforms can provide continued access to educational and mental health resources, helping former prisoners stay on track.

The challenge of digital inclusion

However, the integration of technology in prisons is not without challenges. Digital inclusion is a significant concern, as not all prisoners may have the same level of access or digital literacy. Ensuring  access to these technological tools is essential for them to be an effective component of rehabilitation.

Technology supporting a better future

While technology alone is not a solution for the complex issue of recidivism, it holds significant potential as part of a multifaceted approach to rehabilitation. By providing innovative tools to support educational and vocational training, mental health support and fostering independence and responsibility, technology can be a catalyst for positive change. As we continue to explore and expand these technological avenues, there is a hopeful prospect of significantly reducing recidivism rates, ultimately leading to safer communities and transformed lives.

Related News