The third international conference on technology in re-education organized by Europris (European Organization of Prison and Correctional Services) and ICPA (International Corrections and Prisons Associations), this year dedicated to the theme of digital transformation, hosted in Lisbon from 2nd to 4th April, 250 participants from 52 countries. Numerous researchers, experts and professionals in penitentiary services and probation, both in the public and private sectors, not only in europeans, attended the opening of the conference sessions with the greetings of the Portuguese Minister of Justice, Francisca van Dunem.

“Technology plays an important role in the prison context, in terms of security, as well as in the training of prisoners and at the level of the prison management system. New technologies can become valuable work tools even in the intervention and monitoring of convictions and of the educational protective measures that are carried out in the community “, the Minister noted, noting the importance of these events to promote information and knowledge and to share experiences and good practices.

Next, the first round table saw the prospects of Chief Informations Officers from Canada, Sweden, Singapore and the United States, which preceded the presentation of the modernization measures for the Portuguese penitentiary system. Pedro Das Neves, managing director of IPS (Innovative Prison Systems), pointed out that for the past twenty years the team’s effort has been aimed at technological innovation in rehabilitation processes, “which should not be limited to connecting different systems or converting physical processes in web-based modules, but it should cover the opportunity to think about how, through the use of technology, physical processes can be transformed, replaced or even abolished.”

The parallel presentations of new insights, ideas, innovative solutions and avant-garde pilot projects in the penitentiary context have allowed participants to choose between a series of topics on information and communication technologies to increase the efficiency of prison services, including “Improving communication and participation of offenders” (USA, Singapore, France), “Finding balance with specific technologies” (South Korea, Australia, Canada), “Intelligent innovation” (Finland and Brazil), “Development collaborative technology “(England, Belgium, Ireland) and” Sharing and collaboration between jurisdictions “(USA and Canada).

On the second day, the Italian delegates, representing the Ministry of Justice and the Agenfor International Foundation, presented the Experimental Lab of Penitentiary Forensics (ELPeF) in plenary session, activated at the Regional Prison Authority of the Triveneto Prison Administration of the European J-SAFE project. The laboratory experiments with technologies and solutions in real penitentiary environments, proposes the adaptation of disruptive technologies through joint public-private projects and finds workable and interoperable solutions for prevention in prisons and forensic investigations. Towards an integrated digital approach, ELPeF works on research traces of artificial intelligence, data integration, data mining and improved reality.

Participation in the Lisbon event made it possible to initiate discussion and cooperation with the numerous companies present, specialized in technologies applied to the penitentiary sector, to co-design and test innovation in prison towards the future. The networking opportunities have multiplied in the vast space available to the experts of the private sector who have presented and promoted the most advanced technological solutions developed thanks to field research, which ensure a greater level of safety and the use of Penitentiary staff for tasks not simply for control purposes but for investigation, data acquisition and analysis, analysis of group dynamics and collaboration in the rehabilitation aspects of punishment and reintegration into society. The synergy between public and private is allowing us to demonstrate that today the developments in technology cannot be ignored even in the field of rehabilitation of persons deprived of personal freedom and represent one of the fastest and most effective ways to make a profound change in the system.