Harnessing the Power of Technology in the Justice System: Insights from AIM and the Modernising Criminal Justice Conference

Alex Zlatinova
Jul 8, 2024

The justice system, traditionally viewed as slow to adopt new technologies, is undergoing a transformative shift. The integration of advanced tools like the "Alert, Intervene, Monitor" (AIM) application by Unilink is revolutionising the way prisons operate, particularly in terms of improving prisoner safety and mental health. At the recent Modernising Criminal Justice Conference held in London on June 6th, Simon Burt, Interim Manager of Early Days in Custody at Sodexo, provided a compelling presentation on AIM's impact at HMP Peterborough. His insights, combined with existing research, underscore the critical importance of leveraging technology to create safer, more effective prison environments.

AIM Presentation - How the data highlights risk

The Role of AIM in Modern Prisons

AIM is a data analytical tool designed to reduce the rates of self-harm and suicide in prisons by analysing prisoner behaviour and providing actionable insights to staff. The tool integrates with the prison's case management system (CMS) and uses a traffic light system (Red, Amber, Green) to highlight potential risks, enabling staff to prioritize their efforts and intervene proactively.

Simon Burt’s presentation highlighted several key aspects of AIM's implementation and benefits:

  1. Daily Safety Meetings: At HMP Peterborough, data from AIM is reviewed in daily safety meetings. This practice ensures that staff are aware of any potential risks and can take immediate action to support vulnerable prisoners. By combining AIM’s data with observations from wing staff, a comprehensive picture of each prisoner’s well-being is created, facilitating targeted interventions.
  2. Trigger Dates and Behavioural Changes: AIM tracks significant dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries, which can impact a prisoner’s behaviour. This allows staff to anticipate potential issues and engage with prisoners in a more meaningful way during these critical times.
  3. Holistic Approach to Prisoner Support: The data from AIM is shared across various multidisciplinary teams within the prison. This collaborative approach ensures that all relevant agencies are involved in supporting at-risk prisoners, from mental health services to safer custody teams.
  4. Personalised Keywork Sessions: AIM has transformed keyworker sessions by providing data-driven insights that help tailor support to individual prisoners’ needs. For instance, if AIM detects a drop in phone credit usage, it might indicate family issues, prompting staff to address these concerns proactively.

The Broader Impact of AIM

The introduction of AIM has not only enhanced day-to-day operations but has also received positive feedback from external bodies such as HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP). The data-driven approach has led to significant improvements in prisoner behaviour and overall prison safety. For example, AIM’s use has dramatically reduced instances of self-harm among certain prisoners, showcasing its potential to foster long-term positive outcomes.

The Importance of Technology in the Justice System

The benefits of integrating technology like AIM into the justice system are manifold:

  • Enhanced Monitoring and Intervention: Technology allows for continuous monitoring of prisoner behaviour, enabling timely interventions that can prevent crises.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Tools like AIM provide actionable insights, helping staff make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.
  • Improved Mental Health Support: By identifying and addressing mental health risks early, technology can help reduce the high rates of self-harm and suicide in prisons.
  • Efficiency and Resource Allocation: Automated systems can flag potential risks, allowing staff to focus their efforts where they are most needed, thus optimising resource allocation.


The integration of technology in the justice system, exemplified by the AIM application, represents a significant leap forward in creating safer and more supportive prison environments. Simon Burt’s presentation at the Modernising Criminal Justice Conference highlighted the tangible benefits of AIM, from reducing self-harm to improving overall prisoner well-being. As technological tools continue to evolve, their potential to transform the justice system and enhance the safety and rehabilitation of prisoners remains unparalleled.