On the 3rd and 4th of September 2018, sixteen participants from seven European countries gathered in Helsinki, Finland for the CEP Technology in Probation Expert Meeting. The participants exchanged their knowledge on important technology topics and there was also time for good discussions. The meeting was co-organised by the Finnish Criminal Sanctions Agency.
A lot of new and inspiring technologies are under development within Europe. At the same time there is a lot of discussion around the topics security and ethics. These topics were also part of discussion during the Expert Meeting. The Finish Director General Mr. Esa Vesterbacka visited the meeting and stated the fact that technology can be a good tool in the work with clients, but the face-to-face meeting are still the most powerful tool.
The amount of participant that are creating apps is high. The apps produced by Northern Ireland, Finland and Sweden al have the goal to support the offenders in their rehabilitation process.
Another technical innovation was presented by the Dutch Probation Service: the alcoholmeter. This is an ankle bracelet that is able to measure if the offender drinks alcohol and the amount of alcohol that is in their blood. The Netherlands is also experimenting with the use of artificial intelligence. This technique will provide the probation officers with analyses based on big data. This gives them the opportunity to compare their professional judgement with analysis based on similar cases from the past.
The Swedish Probation service, not only presented their app, but also showed the participants how they use Skype in their probation services. The geographical distances in in the northern part of Sweden make it hard for clients to visit the Probation office as often as they should. Not all the meetings are replaces by Skype calls. They are combined with meetings at the probation office.