Manual to Modern Supervision

August 01, 2022 by Allison Catalani

Manual to Modern Supervision

Manual to Modern Supervision

Legacy mainframe systems have hindered the ability of supervision agencies to maximize results for many years. Historically, these systems required paper-based processes and complex software that only an IT expert could navigate to extract a case note or pertinent information. The lengthy data entry process made it more likely for officers to enter incomplete information, making it difficult for agencies to compile case information and leverage data to measure outcome improvements, such as data related to domestic violence cases. Growing weary of these challenges, counties across the country are switching to modern case management systems to better manage data, including Bibb County, Georgia.

Mainframe Obstacles

Bibb County’s system consisted of a traditional legacy mainframe from the 1980s, with every step consisting of manual entry. Officers spent days logging clients’ community service hours manually, and probation department staff had to compile case information for quarterly audit reports, often making it difficult to find and compile accurate information for reporting purposes. When the Department of Community Supervision (DCS) sent compliance monitors to perform audits on each probation office every year, Bibb County regularly had to request deadline extensions due to the lack of case management oversight tools and the mainframe’s limited capabilities.

Growing Pains

Imagine adding another city to the county’s network. When Bibb County consolidated with the city of Macon in 2015, the county had to add four new probation officers to take on the additional caseload of about 1,000 cases. The extra cases and officers further strained the capabilities and revealed the scalability and growth shortcomings of the legacy mainframe system. During the reorganization, the probation department received unfavorable audit outcomes for several years. The county desperately needed to make a change and upgrade their system.

Efficiency Through Modern Success

Upgrading to a modern cloud-based solution improved Bibb County’s system immediately, allowing the probation department to track offender compliance and routinely review case files from anywhere. With the ability to use smartphones or tablets, officers can now check in from the field, access documentation in court, or assist a department in organizing case files. The new system can distinguish cases by type — active, diversion, and warrant. It includes more efficient reporting tools to make it easy to compile state quarterly reports and DCS audit data. Staff can now enter community service details in the system for automating tracking, thereby eliminating spreadsheets and countless inefficiencies.

As a result of the upgrade, Bibb County’s probation department reduced the time it took to compile information for the quarterly state reviews from more than a week to about 20 minutes. When it came time for the DCS compliance monitor to perform the routine onsite review, she advised that an onsite review was not necessary, and she was able to issue her report remotely, which resulted in zero findings or recommendations — essentially a perfect audit — a first for the Bibb County Probation Office.

Uncovering New Insights

Newer case management solutions are more flexible and scalable than the previous mainframe systems. They provide a way for supervision agencies to quickly create new reports or datasets. These capabilities helped Bibb County address longstanding challenges with reporting to state officials and uncover new insights on the impact of domestic violence. The Bibb County Probation department even received a grant to track separate caseload data that related to domestic violence, developing a flexible configuration that made it easy to provide essential reporting required for the grant, positioning the county well for future new needs, growth, and scalability. Data-driven insights on cloud-based systems help department leaders truly understand important trends and counter misperceptions, allowing the full scope of supervision to be seen, heard, and acted on.

Related Content