From virtual court hearings to smartphone-powered parole, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of advanced technologies by criminal justice teams. This transition to mobile and other secure technologies is helping provide continuity of critical justice services in communities all across the nation. Cisco has been a leader in this change. Through our Connected Justice solutions for community safety, courts, corrections and community supervision we’re helping build safer communities. Let’s take a deeper look at how we got here and where we’re going in the near future.
Safer communities and technology go hand-in-hand
The future of work in government is a hybrid work environment, one driven by innovative mobile technologies with advanced real-time video and information sharing capabilities. That includes Criminal Justice. Defense attorneys, once defiant against the use of videoconferencing in courtrooms, now see the value in its ability to increase face-time efficiently and safely with their clients (see how). Parole boards see the increased ease and speeds at which their work can be done. And probation officers are gaining true value by reducing travel time and costs while staying safe and in touch with their clients whenever they see the need (watch how).
Nearly 5 million people in the United States were in probation, parole or other community supervision programs when the pandemic hit. The community security risks of losing contact with them, and a possible increase in recidivism, helped many leaders in the justice system better understand the value of mobile technologies that could empower remote check-ins and services. Over the last year this has helped keep justice workers safe and able to continue providing services. And for program members, it allowed the same safety, as well as continued access to critical services to assist their re-entry and program supervision in their communities (see how).
By giving those involved in the client-side of the justice system the tools they need to be successful in society, whether for education, health, counseling and more, we help them become productive and purposeful. Mobile technologies have proven they are very efficient in this, and are helping build safer communities. Plus, they have the added benefit of being easily downloaded to the user’s personal phone. This keeps it simple and familiar—something much needed in the post-incarceration world of the client.
Technology helps build a safe community
For those of us in Justice, we wake up every morning and remind ourselves that the day ahead is all about community safety. Then our thoughts shift to the people we serve. But everyone is different. They have different issues in their lives, different problems. Each experience impacts their behavior and how they react within their community. So we need to fully understand these differences and reflect that in how we help them as we seek to build safer communities. This includes individuals who are homeless and veterans. I know this because I was one of them.
“I’m a former homeless veteran—I was living under a bridge, and I became the mayor of the same city I was homeless in. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
– Daniel Stewart, Cisco Senior Advisor
Did you know that it’s estimated that 50 to 60 percent of the homeless population has a smart device? Justice related agencies need to leverage that already-available tool to maximum potential. For example, case managers should be able to do outreach on mobile devices. And their clients should be able to reach back via theirs. But to do it right, you have to have the right applications. And each of the four pillars of justice need specific questions answered first (find out what those are here).
At Cisco, we’re helping leaders in the four pillars of Criminal Justice (community safety, courts, corrections, and community supervision) successfully maintain the continuity of due process as government transitions to hybrid work environments. We’re doing this by helping Justice organizations transition facilities and services to virtual status through secure remote video conferencing and information sharing accessible anywhere, anytime via any authorized device to help build safer communities.
Our approach delivers scalable, enterprise-level solutions (including FedRAMP Authorized Webex) that increase efficiencies while providing industry-leading security for communications, information sharing, and data privacy.
Safer communities – Dive deeper on safer, more resilient justice through technology
Recently, I sat down with Government Technology to discuss how governments can leverage technology to integrate systems of justice as they seek to build safer communities. You can view it by visiting Connected Justice: Opportunities to Integrate Systems and Service.
I also encourage you to see how Connected Justice is providing a powerful and secure platform for community safety, courts, corrections and community supervision at: cisco.com/go/connectedjustice.