Digital Panopticon

Using digital technologies to bring together existing and new genealogical, biometric and criminal justice datasets to trace the lives of British and Australian convicts.

Led by PI Professor Barry Godfrey, the AHRC-funded Digital Panopticon seeks to answer a question posed by Jeremy Bentham in the eighteenth century – which is best – prison or Convict Transportation? The social policy question of what to do with criminals in order to rehabilitate criminals and cut back the costly penal estate has long been in the public eye. The Digital Panopticon uses digitised historical data to contribute to the debate and to bring, for the first time, a Big Data approach to this important issue. Led by Liverpool in partnership with the universities of Oxford, Sheffield, Tasmania, Sussex, and the National Archives. Amongst other outputs, this project has been written about in The Conversation and The Independent.