Benefits and Harm of Technology in Criminal Justice

Technology refers to the application of science to solve problems and it refers to the tools, materials and systems that are used to execute projects within a given period of time. Policing and the criminal justice system must be efficient and effective in order to achieve its goals of protecting civilians by detecting crime and punishing criminals. The criminal justice system always relies on the contemporary technology in the era it functions because that is the only way of getting ahead of criminals and providing effective protection to civilians. The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze the benefits and harms of technology to the criminal justice system. You can also find more about it in myadmissionsessay review.

Benefits of Technology to Criminal Justice

Over the past decade, the main change that has happened in the area of technology is the growth and expansion of digital technology into the criminal justice system. Long ago, things were merely handwritten and police officers in most cases, had to either be at the spot to observe a person committing a crime or have an eyewitness. However, digital technology has changed a lot of these things. There are many elements of digital technology that brings benefits to the criminal justice system.

First of all, there is video recording which allows for a lot of evidence to be gathered and presented in lieu of eye-witness accounts. This is further complemented by advanced DNA and other biometric data that is powered by modern technology to identify perpetrators of crime and solve criminal issues with ease. Through this, inaccuracies in the criminal justice system has been reduced significantly and fewer people are likely to be convicted wrongly. It is not uncommon to hear of cases involving racist rulings that keep many black and minorities in prison for long periods of time because the evidence was either made up or inaccurate. On the other hand, modern technology has helped to exonerate a lot of people and led investigators to the real perpetrators of specific crimes.

Police work has also been enhanced in many ways and forms. In the past, the only thing police officers had in their cars was a walkie-talkie. However, today, they have computers in their cars which allow for traffic citations and other things to be delivered instantly – on the spot. This ensures accuracy, consistency and efficiency in the criminal justice system. Things are quickly done on the spot without having to waste time. This enables the police to do more and ensure that prosecutions are accurate, rather than wrongful. There is also an opportunity for rapid identification of suspects which help to solve crimes and resolve issues quickly. In the past, people could have as many aliases as possible because there was no accurate identification system. However, in today’s world, the police can take fingerprints on the spot and recheck IDs presented by suspects.

Computerization means that almost all the infrastructure and information of the police is kept on a secure database. This allows for the quick grouping of data and its summation into information that can be understood and consumed. This also allows for stronger and quicker utilization of information and promotes better case management.

Case management has also been optimized in many ways through technology. The accused is served with quick information and their lawyers can process it, gather evidence quickly and counteract the claims. This helps in promoting better activities in the justice system. This ensures that the justice system is fairer than it was and things are done in ways that clarify issues and present stronger and better outcomes and information.

Technology has caused policing to move from a crime-fighting coercive approach to a non-coercive technology driving system. This is steeped in the fact that the police used to focus on force and direct response to crime. In other words, the police used a fire-fighting approach to deal with crime and this culminated in situations where the police were merely responsive to crime when it was committed. Until there was a crime anywhere, the police would not do much. However, in today’s world, technology has made the police more of a proactive entity that seeks to gather data and follow through with actions that can help to subside and deal with the effects of these negative criminal acts. Thus, the police is less militarized and more focused on crime prevention and monitoring of situations in order to respond as and when necessary.

The abundance of technology has also brought to the fore, many private security entities that partner with the police to maintain law and order. When policing was merely the task of responding to events and incidents, fewer private players could enter the security industry. However, with advancements in technology and the affordability of various tools and products in the justice system, more private security entities can work with the police to produce results and deal with crime through collaboration.

Thus, the net effect of technology on policing is that the police are able to identify possible crimes, trace the crimes and deal with them before they occur. The police is able to gain higher levels of success and this ensures that they are able to resolve issues quickly and better and the average citizen is able to gain a better quality of life because they are protected better.

Furthermore, technology means that serious crimes are eliminated because there are better methods of monitoring and detecting crime. This means that people are less likely to take risks that might lead to serious outcomes. Hence, there is more hope and there is a better quality of policing and crime prevention.

The court system also functions better and there is an improved mechanism of managing cases and dealing with them as and when they come up. This is because evidence is easily coordinated and there are more efficient methods of gathering data and information in order to produce more accurate outcomes.

Harms of technology in the criminal justice system

In spite of the benefits, there have been numerous harms caused by technology to the criminal justice system. First of all, new species of crime are prevalent because of technology and this creates new and more difficult challenges for the criminal justice system and law enforcement officers. Amongst these new types of crime are cybercrimes and counterfeiting crimes that are extremely difficult to handle.

Cybercrimes include identity theft which is a very personal form of crime which cannot be easily checked or prosecuted. There are many situations where people have stolen other people’s IDs and personal information and lived on it for many years. In many cases, there are hints of these issues, but the cost of investigating them is almost always too high to follow up with them. There are cases where people use other people’s credit cards, but were not apprehended because the cost of pursuing a person who uses $100 of money from another’s card will run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Hence, a lot of people tend to abuse technology to commit crimes. There are many of these cybercrimes committed in faraway lands outside the United States which are paid for by insurance companies because there are limited resources in pursuing them properly. This creates an inherent failure and harm to the justice system which is difficult.

Other forms of technology-driven crimes include internet child pornography, computer hacking and stealing of trade secrets which cannot be easily investigated by the police because it cannot be detected in the first place. There are dark webs that pursue serious crimes which cannot be easily understood or handled in most places around the world.

Counterfeiting is also a common form of crime that is powered by technological advancement. This includes the counterfeiting of drugs, medications and other products, ranging from luxury products to simple products. This happens because technology abounds and it is very easy to create these products and items without much effort and police surveillance in its normal sense cannot detect or deal with them.

Thus, it is fair to say that technology has created a criminal underworld that is difficult to detect and handle. This is linked to the ability to use technology to commit crimes and do wrong things that cannot be easily policed. As such, many people use technology to commit serious crimes and never get to be called up for their crimes and wrongs. This means technology causes society to be unsafe, rather than safe and the harms caused by technology is serious and excessive.

Aside creating new types of crime, technology has created a system whereby problem areas and errors in criminal justice has accentuated and intensified. This is mainly due to the fact that technology gave people more confidence in the systems of the criminal justice sector. This meant that where inherent wrongs existed, they were simply increased in proportion with the new technology. A popular area where this persists is in the area of mass incarceration of Latinos and African-Americans and the racialization of justice. As a matter of fact, more African-Americans are locked up because there is are preconceptions and their cases are just batched into the broader statistical framework and made to suffer for wrongs that others might have committed. The fact that technology has made it easier and faster for crimes to be documented, prosecuted and convicted has caused the racism in America’s law enforcement system to be enhanced.

An FBI director once said that when a police officer sees two pairs of people on both sides of the street and one pair is white and the other pair is African-American, the average trend is that the police might pull over on the side of the two African-Americans. This might be a tendency or driven by statistics. However, where technology is advanced enough to draw linkages and support any aspersion cast on these minorities, there is a greater likelihood to find a reason to convict and lock up these two African-Americans. This shows that technology simply reinforces errors and discrimination inherent in the justice system.

The only way this idea can be modified is through a system of taking time to critique the criminal justice system for its flaws. However, technology adds up more duties and more roles to people and this simply makes it more difficult for officials to pause and think about the gaps and flaws. This means that the flaws will continue to thrive and increase over the years and technology will continue building on a faulty foundation which will continue to harm more and more people.

As identified above, technology has introduced new systems and methods. This continues to increase over time and more things are being added. This increases the risk of error because more and more untested things are brought to the fore and they are used in the justice system. Each time something new comes up, there are gaps and issues and this leads to problems. An example is the OJ Simpson case where DNA evidence, which was new at that time was tampered with. This was partly because the level of training that was gained was limited and the people in charge of the evidence could not handle it. Therefore, new technology comes with new challenges.

Then there is the question of private security companies that work with the police in running the criminal justice system. Private security companies acquire equipment and start operating quickly because technology has evolved and it is cheap. However, they make mistakes and cause errors like the Trayvon Martin shooting which proved to be a costly operational error which led to the loss of a human life.

Thus, the advancement of technology in the past decade has helped criminal justice in several ways. However, there have been harms inherent in the way it has been used and deployed. This has caused a negative impact on various aspects of the criminal justice system, ranging from arrests, policing through trial.

How Technology will change criminal justice in future

Evidence shows that the criminal justice system stands to change significantly in the future. The main element includes the use of exponential technologies like Big Data which allows for extremely high volumes of information to be stored easily within the criminal justice system.

New methods of identification systems are being deployed into the justice system. This includes amongst other things – palm prints, iris recognition, facial recognition amongst others which will help to boost police work significantly and quickly. These things will help to make the police more effective and efficient.

There are also new detection, monitoring and positioning devices that are essential for the police to deal with crime and operate efficiently and effectively. This includes the use of drones, GPS systems and new gunshot technologies. They are advanced enough to help in detecting issues and ensuring that human lives and properties are protected adequately. Drones are low-cost alternatives for helicopters and choppers which were only available to handle high-profiled cases. GPS systems are becoming advanced and they can be programmed to fit the profiles of reported persons that are known to be fleeing within a given vicinity. This can just help to capture the last activity of the person on the advanced GPS system and from there, the individual would be followed by the GPS throughout the period.

Gunshot technologies are also becoming popular and they can help to detect gun fire and give police officers instant access to shooting locations on maps and other systems. Licensing plate scanners and other advanced surveillance cameras can be in vogue soon to help the police to function in ways that bring optimal results in law enforcement (Purdue University Global, 2018).

In terms of administrative work, there is the development of artificial intelligence that can help police officers to write reports quickly and easily with very little interference. This will mean police officers can just key in basic information and a report will be processed easily and quickly for reports that can be used in court.

There are many machine learning and prediction algorithms that will soon be modified and used in policing. This is because algorithms are such that they can be programmed to predict sequences of events that are most likely to come up. This can be used to support a more proactive policing system and improve outcomes of police work in most cities.

Furthermore, technology allows for improved methods of monitoring which would replace incarceration. This can help convicted persons to be monitored and hence, would put them in a situation where they will be able to live a restricted life, rather than move around freely and cause more crimes.


Criminal justice is influenced by the dominant technology at any point in time. In our modern time, digital technologies have caused policing to be more proactive. This ensures that crimes are detected more easily with video and other recognition technologies that promote better outcomes in policing. This has promoted efficiency and effectiveness in police work. However, there are some problems and challenges inherent in the use of technology in the criminal justice system. Notable amongst these pointers is the fact that technology simply replicates the problems and issues in the justice system like racism. There are also new species of crime that have become prevalent because of technology like cybercrime and counterfeiting. In future, technology is likely to evolve further and things like exponential technologies will cause more sophisticated digital systems to be used in law enforcement. This will include stronger surveillance, more data collection and response to crime.

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