CRG 08/20-21 Digital service delivery applications in corrections: A scoping review

This study employed a scoping review method to identify and analyse 171 publications that examined digital service delivery applications used by custodial and community corrections agencies. Sampled publications were analysed to generate a typology of digital service delivery applications used by corrections agencies and to assess the nature, extent and gaps in research evidence about the use and effectiveness of technologies categorised in this typology. Our results also detail strategies used by prisons and community corrections during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop new service delivery models or adapt existing ones, using a variety of digital platforms. Synchronous digital technologies to provide telepsychiatry, telepsychology and digital education for justice-involved people have received the most research attention to date; digital service provision technologies used to provide justice-involved people with general social support, release or re-entry support or video-supported communication with friends and family have received less research attention. There are some important gaps in the research literature. Relatively few studies have evaluated the outcomes or cost-effectiveness of digital service delivery applications employed within custodial and community corrections environments. The reviewed research identifies a variety of challenges about the nexus between technology, justice-involved people and correctional agencies, with many publications foregrounding digital inequalities stemming from a lack of access to technologies and/or a lack of digital skills.