Achieving Perfect Probation Case Audits
- Location: Macon, Georgia
- Client Since: 2014
- Tyler Product: Tyler Supervision™
Streamlined Case Management and Achieved Perfect Audit Results for the First Time
The Bibb County Probation Department, located in Macon, Georgia, serves three courts in the Macon Judicial Circuit – Bibb Municipal Court, Bibb County State Court, and Bibb County Superior Court. Eighteen staff members – which includes nine probation officers (two of whom are supervising probation officers), five administrative staff, two warrant officers, one training officer, and one chief probation officer – manage a caseload of approximately 2,000 probationers under supervision.
The Department of Community Supervision (DCS) is the overseeing agency for the Bibb County Probation Department and all the misdemeanor probation offices in Georgia. They are tasked with ensuring all agencies are operating within their established rules and abiding by state law governing misdemeanor probation. To further their mission, they employ compliance monitors who travel around the state and perform audits on each probation office.
THE CHALLENGE – Accurately managing case files, and providing clean data for reports and DCS audits were difficult with existing system.
Bibb County Probation started using its legacy mainframe system in the 1980s. Though it was a good repository for information, it didn’t have any case-tracking capabilities nor were any ad hoc reports provided, making it difficult to find and compile accurate information for reporting purposes. For quarterly reports, the officer needed to produce for the state, it would take nearly a week to sort through the data and provide what was needed.
When the city and county consolidated in 2015, the Bibb County Probation Office was tasked with taking on two new court clients. These clients came with an additional caseload of about 1,000 cases, for which the county had to add four new probation officers. The additional cases and officers further strained the capabilities and revealed the scalability/growth shortcomings of the legacy system. For example, when new cases came in from one of the court clients, there was no way to distinguish that it was a new case and that it came from a particular court within the county.
Due to the lack of case management oversight tools and the mainframe’s limited capabilities, the Bibb County Probation Office would usually need to request deadline extensions in order to meet the DCS’s timing for audit information. When they were able to compile information for the audit, it was not as clean and accurate as it needed to be, which resulted in unfavorable audit outcomes for several years.
THE SOLUTION – Use a more modern case management solution to achieve compliance with DCS audit criteria.
The Bibb County Probation Department knew it needed a more modern system that could manage multiple courts, distinguish cases by type – including active, diversion, and warrant – and be scalable enough to handle larger caseloads, while also being budget friendly. It also needed to provide easy-to-use reporting tools to make it easy to compile state quarterly reports and DCS audit data.
After searching online and reviewing numerous probation case management software systems in other jurisdictions, Bibb County chose Tyler Supervision (formerly CaseloadPRO) to provide the robust case management and reporting features that its mainframe system couldn’t deliver.
The probation office initially implemented Tyler Supervision to manage cases for one of its court clients. Approximately 18 months after the implementation, the consolidated county decided that it’d be best to use one solution software to span all courts and court agencies in the county, including the probation office. County leadership attempted implementation of the different system, but after configuration issues, the chief probation officer advocated for the continued use of Tyler Supervision, convincing the chief judge not to make the switch.
We successfully used all the tools afforded by the case management software to achieve an excellent audit! My staff and I are certain that Tyler Supervision played a pivotal role in this exceptional outcome.
Chief Probation Officer, Bibb County Probation Office
The Bibb County Probation Office then converted all the old mainframe data into a format that could be uploaded to the new Tyler Supervision system, a process that helped them learn the ins and outs of the software while also saving configuration dollars. Within about a week’s time, they had entered approximately 3,000 cases into the new system.
THE RESULTS – Establish new case management and automated reporting processes to track cases and produce accurate, timely data for successful audits.
Bibb County’s new probation case management system was very user friendly for the staff and enabled them to better track offender compliance and noncompliance. For example, there was no way to track community service hours in the legacy mainframe system. Each probation officer had a spreadsheet to track it manually. With Tyler Supervision, the staff could enter those community service details in the system for automating tracking, thereby eliminating spreadsheets and countless inefficiencies.
The new system also provided dashboards and other tools needed for supervising and chief probation officers to efficiently manage caseloads of their officers according to their internal policies and procedures. With Tyler Supervision, they can automate the process of generating cases to the case file review. Thanks to this automation, they could now do up to 10 case file reviews per day, instead of just one that they could’ve done on the previous mainframe system. This helped streamline quarterly state reporting from the week it used to take down to about 20 minutes.
BETTER DATA AND REPORTS – Led to a perfect audit for Bibb County.
The new system also impacted the probation department’s efficiency – and quality – when providing data for DCS audits. With the shortcomings of the previous mainframe system, the department would always need to request an extension to gather the data and prepare for audits. The mainframe would provide a 90-page list, which didn’t include case status details, that Chief Probation Officer Amy Hartley had to manually filter and combine with documentation from other sources. This process often yielded case info that was incomplete or not accurate.
Prior to an onsite audit scheduled for November 2019, DCS requested a list of 150 probation cases to review beforehand. With Tyler Supervision, the department was able to turn the audit data requests around in about 20 minutes. “Running reports with a few clicks saves a lot of time,” said Hartley.
The system allows me to simply drag and drop files for the auditor and hit send.
Chief Probation Officer, Bibb County Probation Office
A few days before the scheduled audit date, the probation office received a call from the compliance monitor. She advised that an onsite review was not necessary and would follow-up with a written statement of her findings and recommendations. When Bibb County received the written audit in late November, it included NO findings or recommendations. This was essentially a perfect audit, which the Bibb County Probation Office had never achieved.
System Built With the Future in Mind
Since the Tyler Supervision case management system is more flexible and scalable than the previous mainframe system, the Bibb County Probation Office can envision a future where adding new case types, and new staff members as needed, is possible.
Recently, Bibb County Probation received a grant to track separate caseload data points that relate to domestic violence. The probation office knew the system could adapt to the new case type and worked with the Tyler Supervision team to develop the customized tracking and data reporting for these domestic violence cases. This flexible configuration makes it easy to provide essential reporting required for the grant and positions them well for future new needs, growth, and scalability.