Moral and Ethical Issues of Using Technology in Corrections
Keywords:prison, detention conditions, technology, ethics
By definition, prisons and jails are places full of unethical people who have made poor choices. They are also places of power where officers have authority over inmates and must choose not to abuse that power. Therefore, in order for an agency to run effectively, it must not only acknowledge the role of ethics in corrections, but also to encourage ethical behaviour by all of those within its walls.
It is common knowledge now to admit that information is present everywhere in human activities, and information and communications technology, from PCs to the internet network and from mobile phones to world communications networks, is at the height of its development and it transforms our lives, our relations and the organisation of society.
Technology may be used for institutional corrections (like prisons, jails and correctional centres) or for community corrections (like parole and probation). It may equally protect the lives of officers and inmates and may improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of correctional practices.
In many ways technology has been a help and a hindrance for the corrections field. There are numerous challenges and, sometimes, technology consistently changes faster than people can keep up with it. So, we can say that challenges related to the use of computers and the internet, cell phones and their apps, body cameras, biometrics and facial recognition, surveillance drones, electronic monitoring and GPS systems, and X-rays and scanners are the big trends in technology for the corrections field.
2. Law 374/2013 on the use of systems designed to block and interrupt radiocommunications within the perimeters of settings subordinated to the National Administration of Prisons, published in the Official Gazette of Romania No. 825 of 23 December 2013.
3. Regulation for the application of Law 254/2013 on the execution of punishments and measures with deprivation of liberty ordered by judicial bodies in the course of a criminal trial.
4. Order no. 2794/2004 on the approval of the Deontological Code of Staff in the Prison Administration System, published in the Official Gazette of Romania No. 1098 of 25 November 2004.
5. Decision of the High Cassation and Justice Court no. 29/2015, published in in the Official Gazette of Romania No. 51 of 25 January 2016.