In December 2019, violence broke out in the Mississippi State Prison in Patchman, Mississippi, resulting in the death of one inmate and more injuries. Since then, 28 inmates in the Mississippi prison system have died due to widespread violence, suicide and lack of medical services. In the days following the initial riots, many prisoners tried to use smuggled mobile phones to reach the prison walls and download videos and photos describing their current situation.
Once officials are notified of the leak, the images and videos uploaded by the prisoners will be deleted. In response to people’s concerns about showing images to the public, Parchman used a cell phone handheld jammer system. In addition to ensuring that prisoners cannot access their cell phone data, the Mississippi Department of Corrections can also access cell phone detectors, chopsticks, K-9 and net. However, due to living conditions and enough staff have been affected, the department has been working hard to keep mobile phones smuggled and extended access by controlling social media.
In the past three months, due to the discovery history of my lawsuits, I personally participated in these lawsuits. My business is a legal technology company that uses cloud technology to promote legal efforts. In my opinion, the technology or lack of technology in prisons is a key issue and has not attracted the attention it deserves. Although I participated in the project as an expert, what I saw shocked me, and as a result I was disappointed with the current level of technology in American prisons today.
Not only Parchman faced this problem. Other areas of the country, such as Baltimore Prison and Lee County in South Carolina, have implemented or tested controlled cell jammers. According to the FCC’s guidelines on “banning prohibited mobile phones in prisons,” this technology circumvents legal restrictions.
Some American prisons have begun to adopt technologies such as artificial intelligence. For example, LEO technology is used in some areas to monitor prisoners’ conversations on the phone on a large scale. These software programs use speech recognition technology, semantic analysis, and machine learning to create a searchable database of keywords that can be monitored.
The intelligent system treats detainees fairly and eliminates prejudice. On the whole, this seems to be a safe method of using technology to control prison order when monitoring prisoners and guards. However, the use of this system raises some ethical issues.
Even more worrying is that these concerns are not limited to security issues. The lack of technology has proven to extend to the question of whether detainees are receiving proper medical care. A report by the PEW Charitable Trusts cited a RAND study that found that “insufficient or missing electronic medical records” are often mentioned as a fundamental problem in ensuring that prisoners receive proper treatment.
In addition, many reports concluded that lack of access to technology can also lead to recidivism. In a recent survey article conducted by Mia Armstrong, Slate interviewed countless prison officials. They concluded that the lack of technology in all American prisons constitutes a return to the “free world”. An obstacle that is almost insurmountable.
Since we see all the positive results of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in today’s business, it is natural to use such technologies as viable options. Improve the situation faced by correctional institutions. However, it is important to remember that access to technology does not replace human’s basic needs for proper and clean facilities, access to clean and safe drinking water, and fair and safe arrangements.
There are many initiatives that can bring rehabilitation reform into this century. Unfortunately, private prisons are still a problem in the United States. In my experience, the profit dynamics of private prisons reduce the emphasis on prisoner rehabilitation and emphasize the benefits of private companies. I think this creates a vicious circle that limits the useful resources of prisoners and protects the important financial results of private companies.
In my opinion, the industry must change. We must invest in reforming prisoners, not profit from it, and promise to elevate the status of the community through technological advancement, current global vocational training and appropriate healthcare. We have a huge opportunity to use technology to improve recovery instead of enjoying punishment.
Major changes must be made before useful and beneficial technologies can be put into prison. As a member of the technical community, I think it is vital that we recognize this problem and give it the attention it deserves. We have the knowledge and technology to drive real change in rehabilitation. Although this is only part of the puzzle, it may make the prison system better.