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Criminal justice and the technological revolution

COVID-19 has prompted a profound shift in the use of technology across criminal justice systems internationally. Responses have either accelerated or complemented longer-term initiatives to digitise the system. How can this progress be built upon and accelerated for service transformation?

Justice leaders in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Netherlands and the UK have been innovatively harnessing technology to address the impact of COVID-19. These efforts have increased enthusiasm about the benefits of technology, as well as optimism about what is possible.

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

Justice systems must now think in terms of nurturing digital eco-systems that constantly evolve to meet the needs of different service users and harness the dizzying pace of technological innovation. Policymakers, operational delivery teams and technologists from multiple organisations will need to collaborate seamlessly to create better service experience—and to embrace open, agile ways of working that can feel deeply unfamiliar and challenging.

We acknowledge the complexity of this challenge and share the three fundamental cornerstones for the approach along with the key drivers for success.

This paper also outlines three exciting opportunities—digital twins to reduce court backlogs, virtual prisons and virtual rehabilitation—to see this change in action.

Explore the full Future of Criminal Justice collection to dive into topics ranging from goals for justice systems to the lasting impact of COVID-19.

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