Reform report urges extension of Common Platform to Prison Service to support offender rehabilitation efforts
A new report on data and technology in the criminal justice system says the Government should extend the use of the Common Platform further than planned, making it available to prisons.
Crime and information, published by the think tank Reform, says the single case management system for the justice process, which is due to be implemented in 2019, would provide valuable information on offenders to prisons. This could be used in programmes for their rehabilitation.
It would require clear rules on which data could be accessed by which service, but the report cites Stephen Mold, the police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire, in arguing that the cultural barriers to sharing data are greater than the legal ones.
A shift to using a single, cloud portal for storing information would be a major evolution, and access to data could be provided by ‘keys’ for different services based on information sharing agreements.
As an example of what could be achieved, the report points to the Singapore Prison Service analysing data on risk patterns, taking in factors such as family issues and offenders’ attendance at counselling sessions, to tailor rehabilitation efforts.
The platform could also support probation officers in their work.
“A digital platform where the right people can securely access and share information at critical moments can integrate organisations and foster joint approaches to justice that support the user,” the report says. “As individuals move from police right through to probation, secure access to data can deliver the right services for users, enhance efficiencies and transform rehabilitation outcomes.”
Another element of the report highlighted by Reform is that the Government is generally on the right track in seeing the opportunity to make policing and criminal justice more effective through new technology and data. This is the thinking behind the development of the Common Platform, and Home Office plans to provide police forces with more digital tools.
In addition, there are “green shoots of best practice” in making better use of data that could be scaled up across England and Wales. The report points to Durham Constabulary using an intelligence tool to share information automatically, and South Wales and Gwent Police Forces using the I-Patrol app to capture video and audio evidence from crime scenes.
It advocates the increased use of artificial intelligence in policing, and that forces make more use of digital channels in interacting with the public.
Picture by Julian Berry, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons