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SXSW Interactive 2013

Breaking Out of Prison: Future of Incarceration

While traditional prisons have served a vital role in our criminal justice system, they have become overcrowded, costly, and often ineffective at meeting their goals.

But what if an alternative was possible? Imagine a virtual incarceration system that integrates advanced risk modeling, smart mobile technology, behavioral economics principles, and geospatial analytics to create a new ecosystem of monitoring and support. By combining these cutting-edge technologies and trends, it is possible to scale the best elements of existing alternatives to achieve superior outcomes for lower costs.

"Breaking out of Prison" paints a bold new vision for how this virtual system would look, feel, and operate from a variety of perspectives - a judge using predictive analytics to make sentencing decisions; an inmate navigating pro-social behavior apps on his smartphone; a case manager using social networks and location-based platforms to monitor offenders; and ultimately, all of society.

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  1. What are the challenges faced by the current prison system? Specifically, how do issues associated with cost, overcrowding, and poor outcomes impact the prison system today?
  2. What are some current innovative attempts at criminal justice reform that have proved effective? What has prevented them from being applied more broadly, and how could these these “pockets of progress” serve as the foundation for a future system of support?
  3. What are some emerging trends and technologies that could be used to integrate and scale the best elements of existing programs into a new incarceration model?
  4. How would these emerging trends and technologies fit together to create a new prison ecosystem? How could this type of ecosystem be applied more broadly to solve other challenges faced by society.
  5. What would a new incarceration model look and feel like for the users involved in it? How would the day-to-day activities of offenders, case managers, judges, and policy-makers be impacted if such a system were implemented?



Alan Holden, GovLab Fellow, Deloitte Consulting

Meta Information:

  • Tags: analytics
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Government and Civic Engagement
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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