Authors: Oli Hutt, Head of Analytics | Greg O’Meara, Analyst
Friday 11 November 2022
The criminal justice system is under severe strain and the workforce is struggling to meet demand - but technology provides grounds for optimism. Technology has the potential to unlock efficiency gains, drive integration and help decision-making. This report - commissioned by CGI - explores how that can be done, easing pressures on the system and improving outcomes for victims, witnesses and offenders. It contains practical recommendations for using technology to catalyse change and remove many of the obstacles in the way of swift and fair justice.
Our research has drawn on discussions with stakeholders and experts from across the criminal justice system, in the knowledge that the entire system will have to adapt for policy changes in any part to succeed. As a result we needed to understand the challenges in the system from one end to another.
The recommendations in our report distinguish between technological solutions that increase efficiency, enhance decision-making and improve effectiveness. They cover:
Detection and investigation
Charge and prosecution
Hearing and trial
Sentencing and rehabilitation
Strategic issues with systemic effects
The impact on the system of decisions by individual agencies should be properly modelled to prevent the system lurching with every change.
Solutions need to be victim-focused with greater coordination and data sharing mechanisms in place.
There should be a duty to share data so partners can effectively manage demand and case flow.
Longer term, fundamental change is required, including a single accountability structure for the entire criminal justice system.
Data formats, interoperability and information transfer should be standardised, with systems co-designed to facilitate more joined-up working.
Data volumes and complexity continue to increase so there is a need for better systems to manage the scale of demand.
Reducing data (re)entry and data error can be easily overcome - with political will. This would free up significant staff hours and remove delays.
Relatively minor investment would deliver targeted solutions, for example, digital devices in prisons and courts, redaction tools for police and data sharing agreements.
The solutions to many issues already exist, but they require investment from central government to achieve the benefits.