New Technology in Prisons and Jails: Impact on Safety, Cost, and Offender Rehabilitation
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New Technology in Prisons and Jails: Impact on Safety, Cost, and Offender Rehabilitation Nov.17 th 2009 Lecture Professor James Byrne. Hard Technology Contraband detection devices used in prison/jail Duress alarm systems for corrections officers in indoor and outdoor settings

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New Technology in Prisons and Jails: Impact on Safety, Cost, and Offender Rehabilitation

Nov.17th 2009 Lecture

Professor James Byrne


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Hard Technology and Offender Rehabilitation

Contraband detection devices used in prison/jail

Duress alarm systems for corrections officers in indoor and outdoor settings

Language translation devices for use within prisons

Remote monitoring of inmate movements in cells and throughout prison

Perimeter security technology; new cell extraction technology

Less than lethal force in prison

Othe r(e.g. the Supermax prison)

Soft Technology

inmate classifications systems

New monitoring technology for inmate phone calls and financial transactions

Within-prison crime analysis and response capabilities (examination of incident/sanctioning patterns, including transfer, segregation, loss of privileges, etc. identification of high rate offenders and/or prison hot-spot locations)

Information sharing with community corrections, police, treatment providers (continuity/seamless system), and public health system

Monitoring of inmate health problems (e.g. mental and physical)

Other (e.g. testing new technologies in a simulated “mock” riot; using software to model death row outcomes

Hard And Soft Prison Technology


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What is the Link between New Technology and Safety? and Offender Rehabilitation

  • Staff Safety: Public vs. private; security level variations

  • Inmate Safety: Variations by type of injury( self-injury, assaults by inmates, assaults by staff)

  • Community Safety: Escapes


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Is New Technology Cost Effective? and Offender Rehabilitation

  • Cost of Corrections: 60 Billion and climbing

  • Cost of New Technology: People vs. thing Technology; short-term control vs. long term change


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New Technology and Justice Reinvestment and Offender Rehabilitation

  • What is Justice Reinvestment? Reallocation of prison funds to community corrections initiatives

  • How can Simulation Modeling be applied to impact assessment? BJA study


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Can We Use Technology Change Prisoners: What Works? and Offender Rehabilitation

  • Technology of Control: we can reduce inmate-on inmate violence using control strategies, but it will increase the level of self-injury and assaults on staff

  • Technology of Offender Change: Prison programming matters


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Prison Violence and Offender Rehabilitation

  • A review of the official data on the extent of the prison violence problem (murder, rape, and assault) suggests that the most serious forms of violence are rare in federal and state prisons

  • The rate of violence in federal and state prisons is actually slightly on the decline, despite the doubling of our prison population in the last decade (Useem & Piehl, 2006).


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Numbers Vs. Rates and Offender Rehabilitation

  • Examination of data from the 2000 Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities revealed that “the number of assaults, including both physical and sexual assaults, was 32% higher [in 2000] than in a similar period preceding the 1995 census” (Stephan & Karberg, 2003, p. vi).

  • In 2000,there were 34,000 inmate-on-inmate assaults reported.


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Do We have a Prison Violence Problem? and Offender Rehabilitation

  • The Debate: Official vs Unofficial Estimates of the Level and Rate of Violence in Prison vary significantly for both violence and disorder.

  • Prison vs. Community Safety: A Recent BJS Report found that the Likelihood of homicide victimization among prisoners was 9 times greater in the community than in prison.


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Mapping Offender Reentry: Why Do It? and Offender Rehabilitation

  • High Risk Offenders vs. High Stakes Offenders: Who should we Target?

  • High Risk Locations: Can we change community risk level?

  • High Risk Times: When are returning offenders most likely to fail?


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