Crime affects individuals, families, communities, the economy, and society at large, either directly or indirectly. People in the criminal justice system (PCJS) face a complex web of stigma, exclusion, and inequality. Over the last 15 years, little attention has been given to preventing digital exclusion in this group. Without access to technology and the digital world, PCJS can't access essential support and resources in the real world, crucial for helping them to desist from crime.
Dr Gemma Morgan’s research aims to understand digital exclusion among those in the criminal justice system and its impact on their desistance from crime, well-being, and social inclusion. Gemma and a wider team developed the My Journey app, a user-friendly, human-centred, evidence-based digital tool to assist PCJS in desisting from crime and achieving positive outcomes. Furthermore, this technology will help organisations and practitioners in the criminal justice system to adopt evidence-based practice to support people in the CJS and reduce reoffending.
Dr Morgan collaborated with criminal justice system stakeholders and partnered with the Legal Innovation Lab Wales and Include UK to address digital exclusion. They developed the My Journey app through systematic literature reviews, co-production, interviews, surveys, focus groups, and UX testing. Other key partners include Welsh Government, HMPPS, Ministry of Justice, HMP Swansea, HMP Parc, Swansea Probation Unit, and the Wallich.
The app's development is considered groundbreaking, and Dr Gemma Morgan has received a Fulbright Scholarship at the Centre of Advancing Correctional Excellence, George Mason University. This will explore the potential for the ‘My Journey App’ to be adapted for the US. The project has received funding so far from Welsh Government's SMART Partnership grants, the Ministry of Justice's Prison Leavers Innovation Challenge, and CHERISH-DE.
Dr Gemma Morgan's research led to the creation of the groundbreaking and innovative 'My Journey' app, making a significant impact in the criminal justice system. The app, embedded within Include UK, supports desistance from crime and enhances practitioner support to provide a more tailored approach to the needs of individuals.
Furthermore, it's being applied in a Swansea/Neath Port Talbot homeless project to combat homelessness over the next four years, offering valuable empirical insights into digital exclusion among those in the criminal justice system, an underexplored area for the past 15 years.