Streamlining Supervision Operations

August 26, 2020 by Larry Stanton

Streamlining Supervision Operations

As the working world adjusts to new “normals” – at least for the time being – many probation departments have had to alter the way they work and interact with clients and colleagues. Not only do departments across the country still need to conduct the business of managing probation and pretrial services, they must also deal with the looming financial impact on government revenue due to COVID-19.

In anticipation of needing more virtual and streamlined processes to counter any further impacts from the pandemic – while also looking to stretch a budget due to the reduced city, county, and state revenues – many departments will be asking questions such as:

  • Can we do our jobs and more with the people and systems we have?
  • How efficient are our operations? How effective are they?
  • Are there any expenses we can reduce, so the jurisdiction can leverage those funds for community programs toward reducing recidivism?

These are tough to ask because the answers may point to staff furloughs or reductions. But they don’t have to. Before looking at staff headcount, departments should first look at maximizing processes and systems, which will create more efficiencies in pretrial and probation services while saving both time and money. You might be asking, “How can I achieve that?” Well, here are six ways you can examine your probation department’s systems and processes:

1. Use Modern Technology to Help Your Staff and Save Time

Are you using your probation case management system to its capacity? Are you partially (or fully) managing your probation caseloads on paper? Are you using separate systems for probation case management, remote check-ins, electronic GPS monitoring, and more? Combining all these features and functions into one modern system will help you save time and money across the board. Modernizing your system can create efficiencies by consolidating information and integrating with justice partners to streamline operations. It’ll also make data entry easier – since there’s only one party record – and leads to clear, comprehensive reporting.

By using a single vendor solution, like Tyler Supervision, you’ll get updated features every week, higher uptimes, easier onboarding, fast user adoption, reliable data, and cost savings by eliminating any of your paper-based filing and reporting.

2. Combine Multiple Products to Share Data

Modernizing your system will enable you to bring together multiple (or all) aspects of your probation management processes into one system. That means you can have case management, electronic GPS device monitoring, automated reminders, schedule and information on clients’ telephone check-ins all in one system, so when you enter data into the system on a client, it’ll update across each touchpoint in the system. Plus, one system means one solutions provider, not multiple vendors to deal with, resulting in simplified vendor management and cost savings. One point of contact also leads to better, faster support for all your supervision products.

3. Develop More Interface With the Court

Work within your modern system and its integration capabilities to create more connections with the court(s) you normally work with. When your department and the court operate on systems that can talk to each other, data-sharing becomes easy. This integration leads to quicker communication, so sharing party case data and case documents can happen in an instant while also eliminating duplicate data entry.

4. Improve Reporting

With all your supervision data in one system, it makes it easier for you to have information at hand to run any report you need. Whether you need a form, a letter for the courts, or a compliance report for the county or state, you’ll have the ability to run reports and create the court documents you need with a single click.

5. Create Single-Party Records

Not only do these integrated systems improve reporting, but they also help to consolidate all of the information on a person into a single file so your department and the courts can see a person’s full criminal history in one place. With such comprehensive data easily accessible to your department and the courts, judges can leverage this wider variety of information to make more informed pretrial decisions and recommend better treatment. This could help lead to your jurisdiction reallocating money to community programs that otherwise would be spent putting pretrial detainees in jail. Clark County, Nevada, has seen this play out in its Juvenile Assessment Center, which they call Harbor. This center, developed in partnership with juvenile probation, school districts, the police and more, houses several community providers under one roof to provide assessments and services to youth and families to address any immediate and ongoing needs. Many first-time offenders go here instead of probation, and parents can get help with troubled kids who have not yet offended or need to deal with truancy issues.

6. Do More With Less Staff

Do more with less. You’ve either been in that situation before, are in that situation now, or know someone who is in that position. With an updated system, you can streamline your operations and optimize your staff by relying more on your probation software to help manage offenders, set system alerts so tasks don’t fall through the crack, enable remote check-ins so low-risk offenders can self-report, and use data to create alerts and notifications for potential issues. Plus, available dashboards provide a broad overview of your case data and key performance indicators so you can keep track of clients and recidivism in real time.

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