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UK Ministry of Justice modernises wired and wireless digital infrastructure

Deployment of AI-driven networking designed to improve staff productivity and job satisfaction for UK Prisons and Probation services, while providing prisoners more rehabilitation opportunities through greater life skills

The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has chosen Juniper Networks as a key networking partner in its strategic digital transformation initiatives.

At the heart of the move is the belief by the MoJ that prison rehabilitation is changing challenged lives in the UK, improving many prisoners’ futures and helping them to, it said, “get on the ladder of opportunity” in preparation for their return into society, and so reduce instances of reoffending.

In practical terms, this has meant overhauling ageing infrastructure, paper-based processes and staff-dependent services, and replacing them with digital-first, innovative prisoner-facing services, supported by modern technology infrastructure. 

In addition, the Ministry wanted to provide fit-for-purpose connectivity and a secure network offering for its probation sites by deploying a cloud-native, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven microservices architecture. By using its secure, cloud-managed and AI-driven technology, Juniper Networks was confident the MoJ could deliver “exceptional” wired and wireless experiences to staff and prisoners to support work, education and human connections.

Juniper’s Mist AI-based wired and wireless service was said to have met all the requirements: delivering network visibility, automated troubleshooting and the user experiences demanded by the MoJ. 

More than 400 probation sites and prisons in the UK now use Mist services, and many MoJ sites will use it for wired and wireless access. The prisons use Juniper access points, while probation sites use both access points and Juniper Networks EX-Series Switches managed via a cloud architecture to deliver what is described by the technology provider as “fast, reliable and continuously optimised” connectivity for probation officers and other staff.

Prisoners can now use their devices for administrative tasks that are said to simplify day-to-day life and access important information from their cells in support of developing greater self-confidence and improved behaviour.

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Network configuration, management and troubleshooting duties are streamlined with Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance, Juniper Mist Wired Assurance and Marvis Virtual Network Assistant. These cloud services are designed to work together to solve wireless and wired network issues remotely and proactively before they impact the user experience.

Granular policy control enables The MoJ’s IT staff to give prisoners controlled access to the internet from their designated devices. For instance, the IT team uses the Mist dashboard to quickly identify unapproved Wi-Fi devices connected in the prison and mitigate them immediately.

“We are delivering great user experiences, and there is so much more potential to leverage with the intelligence in Juniper Mist,” said Nava Ramanan, deputy director of the UK Ministry of Justice. “We’re just getting started with technology that enables rehabilitation to better prepare our prison populations for a much brighter future.”

Jamie Pitchforth, head of strategic business for the UK and Ireland at Juniper Networks, said: “Organisations can harness the power of AI to overcome challenges, make smarter decisions and transform user experience in the digital age. They can leverage the power of data to deliver real change that benefits society and create a new paradigm.

“In the case of The MoJ, when prisoners receive access to technology, it can be both life-changing for self-esteem and transformational at a practical level, helping with their mental health, and the ability to rebuild their lives and use their experiences to make a positive difference for those around them,” he said.

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