May 17, 2020

Technology and Probation: A Better Norm?

Jonathan Ley
Make Time Count

‘Lockdown’, ‘social distancing’ or ‘Covidiot’ - terms never heard before March, now commonly used on Zoom calls with friends and family.

Covid-19 is disrupting all daily life, including Probation. Appointments via Skype; interventions on digital platforms so users can complete from home.

When normality begins to return, what if, instead of going back to old ways, we keep on transforming?  Maintain what is working well during these exceptional circumstances and embrace further change. Streamlining processes and delivering in ways our users consume other services.

I am thinking of Digitization, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.  I am sure there are many others.

Firstly digital - can we use apps to put the probation process into the user's pocket? Provide access to training and interventions online from home? Can we make interventions more effective by moving to a mixed classroom and online model?  Technically, the answer is yes. We just need the evidence and the will to make it happen.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), or Machine Learning, is one of those scary sci-fi terms. In reality, most of us use some flavour of this every day. Algorithms enhancing our ability to find what we’re looking for (Google), predict our shopping preferences (Amazon) or understand what we’re asking for (Alexa). Can we use these same techniques to enhance risk management and improve understanding of efficacy of interventions?

Virtual Reality is being shown as highly effective for dementia and other areas of treatment, including rehabilitation. Virtual Rehab claim that 87% of patients showed improvement. Described by the US Government as “a capability very promising for public services”.

Join me on 28th May to discuss how technology may influence the future of Probation.


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