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Socrates Software and its secure tablets
Socrates Software provides its Socrates 360 platform on secure tablets to prisons and Smartphones to probation services around the world.

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Secure Tablets

This is the second in my new series of posts profiling well-known British companies with proven digital expertise in the criminal justice sector. As well as providing a picture of the company and its products, I’ll be asking why so many British tech companies in the sector are more successful at selling their wares in other countries, despite starting their journey on these shores.

This week’s post looks at the work of Socrates Software.

The platform

The Socrates 360 platform is a tool aimed at helping to improve the lives of people in contact with the criminal justice system. In prisons and other secure settings, the platform is accessed via secure tablets, and offers a wide range of content and services. These tablets are pre-installed with a secure Mobile Device Management system, which means that only approved apps, websites and settings can be accessed. The system is designed to work fully offline, but, when the prison or probation authority permits, it can also allow access to a small number of pre-approved websites.

Socrates also provides access to family communications, video calling, voice calls and messaging, often integrating with the prisoner telephone system provider.

People on probation or even day release can access the Socrates 360 App on their own smartphones (or a locked down smartphone provided by Socrates), which offers a variety of options for keeping in touch with supervising officers and support services, including video calling, contacts list, notifications, forms, and a local services directory. In addition, service users in the community have access to all the same course, careers advice, and health and wellbeing information as service users in prison.

Additionally, the optional check-in function can be used as a simpler and less stigmatising alternative to the ankle monitor, to allow service users to keep staff members updated on their whereabouts.

The app is flexible and is customised to each prison or probation service’s requirements. The Socrates platform is available in a small number of prisons in the UK but also in 10 US states across a number of jails, prisons, and probation contracts, and two territories in Australia.

In the US, probation service users can check in remotely instead of physically having to attend an office, by sending their location from their smartphone when prompted, providing an unobtrusive alternative to traditional supervision methods. Service users can also access a wide variety of content and features, including interventions courses, careers advice, a local services search, and video calling with officers or support staff.

Several projects in the US are delivering probation, parole and pre-trial support for rural counties where there are long travel distances involved for in-person reporting. Using the app to communicate with service users remotely via video call, timely notifications and messaging helps staff use their time more effectively and reduces the risk of technical violations through missed appointments and reporting.

Willingness to embrace new technology

We have a (probably accurate) impression of the US penal system as being much more restrictive and punitive than our own. However, while politicians and policy makers on this side of the pond are apparently concerned about public perceptions of giving technology to prisoners, Socrates has not found this same concern in the States, even in (penally notorious) Texas, which has made tablets available to every one of the 130,000 inmates in State run prisons, all of which have facility-wide Wi-Fi. The opportunity to roll out so many tablets has also presented the opportunity for widespread feedback, with both staff and people in prison reporting reduced violence, improved prisoner-staff relationships and a general improvement in atmosphere since the tablets went mainstream.

You can read more about Socrates’ work here.

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Innovation posts sponsored by Socrates 360

The smart solution to communication, information, and education in secure settings and beyond.

Socrates Software is  working with Probation Services, Prison Services and some of the UK’s premier private companies bringing innovation and life-changing improvements to the sector by providing a “mobile mentor” via tablets and smartphones for Prisons and the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme.


The Future of Resettlement

Socrates 360, mobile mentor, is a true Through The Gates solution for the prison and probation sector. For use by prisoners, probationers and staff.


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