Five Solutions to Improve Supervision Outcomes

July 28, 2022 by Allison Catalani

Five Solutions to Improve Supervision Outcomes

Officers and justice staff have been facing a growth of caseloads for decades whether they are managing probation, parole, diversion, pretrial, community supervision, or other programs. Recent efforts to reform pretrial services and bail are contributing to caseload increases. The good news is the shift from paper-based processes to electronic applications can help officers manage growing caseloads and give greater attention toward improving outcomes for youth and adults in supervision programs. At the heart of all efforts is a cohesive goal to find solutions that support better client outcomes — from reducing recidivism and truancy rates, to lowering the number of people who are incarcerated or awaiting trial. Collaborating with community partners and agencies to enhance outcomes requires both the willingness and ability to share data.  Discover how agencies are experiencing the benefits of better insights, decision-making, and outcomes by leveraging technology in these five areas:

1. Case Management

Many agencies involved in supervision rely on outdated legacy mainframe systems using paper-based processes and manual data entry. Data has often been difficult to extract from legacy systems in ways that support decision-making and measurement of results. Modern technology provides easier access to case information and supports more refined analytics for management, a one-stop-shop for all involved. Agencies and officers enjoy several benefits when this kind of technology is applied in current case management solutions. Electronic applications lead to paperless data collection that allows them to easily monitor and report on several case types — including adult and juvenile probation, parole, pretrial, and diversion. Additionally, officers reap the benefits of being able to schedule and track drug testing and community service hours, manage referrals, and send reminders.

Court documents, signed consent, previous history, and caseload ratios are all in one place, providing more time for officers to do more efficient casework and build real relationships with individuals. A stronger bond and consistent attention help officers document clients’ progress more efficiently to make the case for reentering the community.

Case management data can be collected to:

  • Evaluate recidivism rates
  • Assess the time from release orders to the program agency’s assumption of supervision
  • Monitor the time individuals stay in supervision
  • Determine detention rates for those in pretrial programs or supervision.

The ability to quickly share more accurate data helps agencies determine a productive pathway for decision-making and optimal outcomes — ensuring fewer individuals fall through the cracks, and more are prepared for success.

2. Electronic Monitoring

In the past, officers had to access multiple systems to manage and monitor different hardware devices from different providers. By integrating electronic device monitoring with modern case management software, officers benefit from setting policies and receiving alerts when policies are violated. Agencies gain the convenience of monitoring individuals through the case management system regardless of the monitoring hardware they’re wearing. Officers do not need to struggle to navigate to vendor-specific websites for the information anymore, allowing the agency to choose the best monitoring solution for each case. Electronic monitoring keeps residents in the community, providing a sense of normalcy. Normal routines create stability and more positive outcomes such as a lower recidivism rate. With greater access to data from electronic monitoring, agencies can productively build case plans focused on growth for clients.  

3. Automated Check-Ins

Voiceprint and biometrics allow clients to check in with their probation officer or case manager remotely and securely, eliminating the need to speak directly with either. Modern systems can automate check-ins and store interviews required for reports and case files. With these reports integrated into case management systems, added value is provided to officers who can easily generate reports and receive alerts — rapidly and accurately identifying any missed check-ins before they escalate further. With easier access to check-ins, clients gain a new sense of self-responsibility and independence.

4. Automated Reminders

Texts and phone call reminders provide a more accessible scheduling process for clients and officers. Users enjoy the ease of automatic reminders for appointments or hearings with repeated texts or phone calls, helping to reduce the number of missed court appearances. By communicating often using automated reminders, users are encouraged to follow their scheduled check-ins or court appearances, ensuring decrease in failure-to-appears.

5. Client Portals and Mobile Apps

Online portals and mobile apps allow clients to connect with departments and officers remotely via computer or smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Increased communication access helps clients get their most common needs met. If clients have a question, they can send a message within the mobile app to the department or officer and receive a prompt reply. Portals empower clients to report activities, update their personal information, and make payments. Additional features include automated answers to frequently asked questions and eliminating some of the burden on case managers, who in turn can focus on leveraging data in new ways and channel their efforts toward reform initiatives.

Once agencies identify how many systems they use, especially antiquated legacy systems, they can unlock the potential of modern technologies and move forward with all or some of the new solutions. Modern systems are flexible enough to quickly create new reports and datasets with accuracy, benefiting clients, officers, and agencies. Data-driven insights provide advantages to department leaders by helping them truly understand important trends and counter misperceptions. This increased awareness paves the way to ultimately gauge where clients are in the supervision stages, helping departments to reduce recidivism and truancy rates, and lead to improved outcomes.

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