The United States, among all developed nations, appears to have the highest incarceration rate. It seems like the rate of Americans going to prison every day has no sign of slowing down due to the prisoners’ increased numbers over the past 25 years. Although a lot of policies have been proposed to reiterate the criminal justice system of the country, no visible positive result has come up just yet.
The current justice system is based on a two-decade-old policy. It was said to maintain the operation during the time were big mafias and gangs were running the streets. Admittedly, that old system has outlived its effectivity because nothing seems to change. Fortunately, there’s a discussion of a new act in Congress. It aims to focus on avoiding incarceration for nonviolent offenders, and that’s through the use of digital technology.
The new bill appears to be pointing towards reforming the justice system while using technology as an integral part to unlocking a variety of alternatives to long-term prison sentencing. The justice system is already incorporating the use of technology in its punishment. Samples of these are the use of ankle bracelets and Global positioning devices. Therefore, it seems that innovation can somehow go along with incarceration beyond physical imprisonment, especially for those individuals convicted with nonviolent offenses.
Impact Of Technology In The Justice System
With the special aid of modern digital monitoring program, the incarceration facilities have the advantage of keeping their convicts outside of prison. At the same time, they can keep offenders under control and give the public safety at utmost importance. Through this solution, offenders can now continue with their work through work release programs and have the freedom to be with their family while being subjected to geographical restrictions. One example of a digital monitoring device used by the facilities is Omnilink. Omnilink is a company that uses RF and GPS tools that enables the court to provide flexible sentencing options.
Digital technology has also found its way towards improving the probation and parole programs. Data from Families against Mandatory Minimums shows that the use of mobile devices has enabled the released convicts to keep in regular touch with their attending probation officer. There are certain conditions to be followed in the case of individuals under probation or out on parole. They must regularly let the officers know what they are doing and where they are. Officer protocol mandates that they should undertake surprise unannounced spot checks visit to make sure that the probe is precisely where they claim to be. With the use of digital technology, these intrusive physical measures become avoidable.
The proposed overall digitization of the justice system does not convince everyone to see it as a form of alternative. Some of the critiques claimed that the uses of monitoring tools are dehumanizing and unfair to the convicts. However, it is evident that the use of devices such as ankle bracelets is more tolerable than being incarcerated, not to mention being much cheaper than keeping prisoners locked up. Those against the collaboration of digital technology and reformed policies should understand the positive effect on the situation of the criminal justice system in the country.
There are even more far-reaching incarceration problems that cannot be solved by digital technology alone. There should be a proper reevaluation of sentencing to optimize the whole justice system. People with a non-violent related crime should not stay in prison much longer than needed. Incarceration must be limited to technical offense. With these solutions, the government can drastically minimize the total population of incarcerated individuals.