Book Chapter

Using technology and digitally enabled approaches to support desistance



Morris J & Graham H (2019) Using technology and digitally enabled approaches to support desistance. In: Ugwudike P, Graham H, McNeill F, Raynor P, Taxman F & Trotter C (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice. London: Routledge, pp. 179-192.

This chapter provides an overview of rehabilitation and desistance-orientated uses of digital tools and approaches in prison and probation settings. Considerable attention is often given to ‘what’ established and emerging technologies can do in criminal justice. Yet ‘how’ and ‘why’ such technologies are used and advanced, by whom and for whom remain indispensably important. ‘Digital justice’ and digitally enabled supports for rehabilitation are explored here, reflecting on their potential, alongside considerations of purposes and practicalities of implementing them. Monitoring and reporting technologies can be differentiated from technologies which are more therapeutic and rehabilitation-orientated in their uses; this chapter concentrates on the latter. International literature and practices are incorporated throughout, however, the chapter purposely focuses on applied examples from England and Wales. A growing number of technologies and digital approaches are being used in criminal justice systems internationally. In prison and probation service contexts, particularly in Europe, Australasia and North America, examples include: electronic monitoring technologies (e.g., tags); apps for mobiles and other digital devices; kiosks; in-cell technologies; animation, digital storytelling, digital toolkits and information communication technologies; virtual reality; Skype and video conferencing; gaming; artificial intelligence and machine learning; social media, websites and online portals. Technology can be used proportionately and responsively, or punitively and disproportionately in criminal justice, underscoring the need to discern purposes and goals of use.

Technology; criminal justice; probation; prison; app; digital justice; desistance; rehabilitation

Publication date17/09/2019
Publisher URL…ok/9781138103320
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Dr Hannah Graham

Dr Hannah Graham

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology