This interview with David Boyd, Director, Office of Science and Technology, National Institute of Justice, focuses on the efforts of this office to introduce technology into the corrections enterprise as well as into other criminal justice components.
The first interview question concerns the work of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council. In the work of the Council, the law enforcement and corrections group meet separately, and then they are brought together into one larger body. In the larger body, technology that has application both to law enforcement and corrections is discussed. The Council attempts to identify the problems that might be addressed by technology. One problem that has been identified is the need for a less-than-lethal technology that can be used to control uncooperative subjects or inmates without injury to any of the involved parties or bystanders. Another category of technology that initially started as a concern of law enforcement but now has an application for corrections as well is concealed weapons and contraband detection. After identifying problems that may be addressed through technology, the Council determines what technology meets the broadest possible number of needs and requires the least amount of modifications. The effort to introduce technology into criminal justice enterprises such as corrections has been a slow process due to the conservative nature of this community. This must be done through education that emphasizes the importance of the evolutionary process in the use of technology; that is, no given technology is the perfect solution to any problem, but still the step must be taken if it brings some improvement over the current situation.