Beyond Punishment Seminar: Transforming rehabilitation through digital technology – Law School: Events Beyond Punishment Seminar: Transforming rehabilitation through digital technology – Law School: Events

Beyond Punishment Seminar: Transforming rehabilitation through digital technology

Beyond Punishment Seminar: Transforming rehabilitation through digital technology

In-person event

Institutions of criminal justice are not isolated from broader trends in society – and developments in the application of technologies in prisons have made it important to reconsider the role of digital technologies in rehabilitation.

What is the role of digital technologies in the context of the rehabilitative aim of prisons? What ought it to be? How is this role likely to develop in the future? And what challenges need to be borne in mind when answering these questions?

These issues will be the focus of the Beyond Punishment Seminar: Transforming Rehabilitation Through Digital Technology, which is hosted by the Sydney Institute of Criminology in conjunction with Corrective Services NSW at the Sydney Law School.

A good first step is to assess the current state of play regarding potentially rehabilitative technologies in prisons. The seminar will examine the roll-out of android tablet devices in NSW prisons and the impacts on family visits, health services and education of people in prison, especially since the Covid-19 prison lockdowns, and it will also examine how the devices can be used to deliver effective programs of rehabilitation.

How are tablet devices employed in prison? Do they lead to greater participation in rehabilitation or mean that people in prison socially withdraw? Can android devices address reintegration back into society and minimise issues of digital illiteracy? Is this an initiative that can ultimately decrease re-offending rates?

Technologies are never politically neutral and often raise ethical issues that need to be considered, particularly in the context of criminal justice’s rehabilitative aims and this seminar will aim to consider these ethical issues and to try to answer some of the questions raised above.

Our panel will be moderated by:

Dr Carolyn McKay, Sydney Institute of Criminology, Co-Director

Carolyn is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney Law School where she teaches Criminal Law, Civil & Criminal Procedure and Digital Criminology. She is Co-Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology. Carolyn is recognised for her research into technologies in justice, specifically her empirical research into prisoners’ experiences of accessing justice from a custodial situation by audio visual links, published in her monograph, ‘The Pixelated Prisoner: Prison video links, court ‘appearance’ and the justice matrix’ (2018).

Panel Members:

Luke Grant, Deputy Commissioner, Corrections Strategy and Governance, Corrective Services NSW

Luke joined Corrective Services NSW in the 1991 and held a number of executive positions prior to his appointment as Assistant Commissioner Inmate Management in 2000. He has worked at the coalface in the areas of inmate classification, offender rehabilitation programs and services and inmate education. Luke was appointed to the role of Deputy Commissioner Corrections Strategy and Policy in 2020 and Deputy Commissioner of Strategy and Governance in 2022. In this role Mr Grant leads the development of Corrective Services strategy, policies, and practice as well as overseeing the interaction with partner organisations and service providers.

Renee Van Aaken, Acting Director – Reducing Recidivism (Premiers Priority) at Department of Communities and Justice

Renee is an experienced leader in the Criminal Justice sector, with extensive and diverse experience including being operational in prisons, senior management, and strategic areas. Renee is passionate about making a difference, for people impacted by the criminal justice system and those working within what is a very challenging environment. She is driven to implement change effectively and is currently focused on several projects supporting the Premier’s Priority to Reduce Recidivism. A new and exciting area interest for Renee is Correctional Technology, leading the development and implementation of a business case for a $40m program to transform prisoner rehabilitation through technology in CSNSW.

Steven Van De SteeneSmart Corrections

Steven is an Enterprise Architect specialised in technology in corrections. He works as a consultant in innovation and digital strategies for prisons and probation services. He is also active as a researcher, affiliated to the Montfort University (Leicester, UK) and as board member of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) he is the liaison for the technology solutions network within the association. Steven is actively promoting more research in this field and works closely together with universities across the globe to enhance our knowledge on the opportunities as well as the risks and ethical questions related to the use of technology in corrections.

Professor Mark Halsey, Flinders University

Mark is a Professor of Criminology at Flinders University, South Australia. He has a long-standing interest in the intended and unintended consequences of incarceration as well as the conditions which facilitate and impede desistance from crime. Mark’s books include Young Offenders (Palgrave), Tackling Correctional Corruption (Springer), Generations Through Prison (Routledge) and Power and Pain in the Modern Prison (Oxford).


Thursday 2 March 2023, 6-8pm, followed by a cocktail reception

CPD points =2


Watch the event recording here.

This event is presented by the Sydney Institute of Criminology in conjunction with Corrective Services NSW at the Sydney Law School.


Mar 02 2023


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

More Info

Register here


Law Foyer, Level 2
New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney (Camperdown Campus)


Professional Learning & Community Engagement
02 9351 0248

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