Mobile and web technologies for correctional programs: Theoretical and policy challenges

S. Ross1*, S. Theerathitiwong2

1 Caraniche P/L
2 School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

*corresponding author: sross@caraniche.com.au

Correctional rehabilitation program models have changed little in the past several decades, and still rely primarily on a mix of face-to-face supervision and case management, and group-based treatment.  These rehabilitative approaches are relatively expensive to deliver, with the result that intensive programs are typically reserved for only the highest risk offenders and only engage offenders for restricted periods.  In contrast, medical and more recently mental health interventions have developed a range of assessment, help-seeking and treatment delivery tools that use mobile and web technologies in combination with expert systems.  These approaches provide a way to extend access to treatment, improve the targeting of expensive personal health and mental health services, and allow users to access services when they want them and without resource constraints. Early results indicate that these methods can provide outcomes that match or exceed those from conventional treatment methods at a significantly lower cost.  These new engagement and treatment models have the potential to be applied to forensic/correctional rehabilitation programs, in particular programs targeting drug and alcohol and mental health problems.  However, in order to adapt these approaches some important policy and program structural challenges will need to be addressed. Key challenges include adapting correctional interventions to “user-driven” treatment approaches, developing a continuum of treatment approach appropriate for the needs of a more diverse population of clients, and integrating risk-based compliance monitoring with treatment.

Biography

Dr. Stuart Ross is General Manager, Research & Development at Caraniche, a Victorian-based private consulting firm that delivers a range of specialist psychological services to the government, private and not-for-profit organisations. He is also Senior fellow in the School of Social & Political Sciences at the Unioversity of Melbourne.

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