Supporting prison transformation

| minute read

Working closely with the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS), Sopra Steria has developed a suite of mobile device apps enabling prison officers to work from a variety of mobile devices. These apps are transforming and digitising core prison processes, enabling more effective delivery of custodial care.

The challenge

A significant amount of detailed information on a wide array of issues must be accurately collected, updated and promptly acted upon to support safety and rehabilitation within prisons. This is made more difficult as most officers have limited time during a shift, due to their busy role with inmates, to access a computer terminal.

Therefore, officers had limited time to complete management information during core work hours and either needed to come off wing activities to complete critical processes on a terminal, or, wait to undertake them after the close of a shift based on paper notes or their memory of the relevant details. This exasperated the process for both the prisoner and the prison regime, expended valuable officer time, and may have led to delay in process completion.

The solution

Sopra Steria worked closely with NIPS management, ICT and frontline prison service staff and has developed a suite of tablet apps to significantly reduce the administrative burden on frontline officers. The team selected several of the most complex and time-consuming prison processes for digitisation, streamlining and developing each into a specific app which is quickly available from an intuitive, user-friendly interface. 

The processes that have been digitised cover an array of core processes including:

  • Digital management of prisoner regimes
  • Health and safety incident management
  • Digitising inmates' diaries

The results

Working with NIPS, two device types were selected to support officers. For longer, detailed business processes officers use the larger tablet screen to navigate easily through the app, for example, to move with a prisoner into a more discreet section of the prison to undertake discussions that may require privacy e.g. healthcare related discussions. For wing-based roles, a smaller body-worn device incorporating a camera and QR scanner was preferred by officers as it can be worn on the forearm leaving officers’ hands free when not in active use. 

This has been a truly transformational digital programme, achieved through close partnership working between NIPS Management, ICT teams and Sopra Steria.

Head of NIPS ICT Services

Key Outcomes & Benefits include: 

  • Enhanced prisoner care and improved outcomes
  • Better use of officer time and skill
  • Increased data quality and timeliness
  • Transparency

Download the full case study





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