The Role of Tech in Access to Justice

March 05, 2020 by Sandy Peters

The Role of Tech in Access to Justice

Can you imagine what our world would look like if we bought groceries like we did 30 years ago? Imagine walking into a grocery store and looking at each item to find the price marked on it. A price that required someone to manually label each item. If the item went on sale, someone had to remove all the prices and replace them with new ones. When you were ready to check out, the cashier had to find the price on each item and enter it by hand into the cash register. If the price was missing, someone had to go back and hunt for a tag on a similar item. Some of you may be old enough that you don’t have to imagine; you can remember, like me. Bar code technology has changed this process to something much more efficient and accurate.

I have been working in technology for the last 40 years. There has been an incredible amount of change in that time. The first computer I worked on was as large as a house. It was on a raised floor and cooled from underneath. We had a room full of 9-track tapes that we used to backup data and install new software (think movies about the NASA Apollo missions). Today, we hold a computer in our hand that is more powerful than that huge one of 40 years ago. The change from 40 years ago to today did not happen in one giant step, it happened in many small steps along the way.

Over the years, I have been exposed to a lot of different industries. Government, finance, long distance billing, utility billing, and courts to name a few. I have been involved as we used technology to help each of these industries become more efficient. I am not an expert in any of those industries and don’t claim to be. I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. What I have been able to do is to take my knowledge and expertise in technology along with a desire to learn and pair that with experts in their industries to solve problems.

Many of the improvements brought on by technology are about efficiency, accuracy and convenience. When we look to provide a better experience for the consumer (the customer), we can often find a solution with technology. My question is, have we used that type of thinking to improve they we conduct court business? Do we think of defendants as customers? Have we thought about using technology as a tool to make justice more accessible?

Visit this spot next month to explore more about the importance of access to modern technology and its application in courts and communities.

This is the first post in a series by Sandy Peters, vice president and general manager of Tyler Technologies’ Incode Court product line. Check this space on the first Thursday of each month for more.

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