Efficiency focus in corrections is driving better solutions

After reflecting on my participation at the recent American Correctional Association conference the theme that ran through most of the sessions was efficiency.

With flat or declining budgets and a growing offender population, corrections agencies must become more efficient to deliver even more for less.  To develop these new efficiencies many agencies are making significant structural changes to better align people, resources, and functions.  Some recent examples:

• The State of Tennessee recently transferred the supervision of adult offenders to the Department of Correction to better achieve their mission of effective supervision of adult offenders in both the community and secure facilities.

• The Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services consolidated pre-trial detention, adult corrections, and parole/probation into one organization operating in three geographic regions – key to their strategy to increase efficiency, increase successful community re-entry, and lower recidivism.

Enabling this kind of functional realignment can require modern supporting systems that provide end-to-end visibility into operations and analysis to empower people across the agency.  For example, the Illinois Department of Corrections recently announced their deployment of Offender360 to improve operations and efficiency while reducing costs.  This new offender management system will replace their current mix of a 1980’s mainframe system and dozens of other supporting applications.  The solution is also delivered through the cloud, allowing the agency to deliver a new solution despite infrastructure budget constraints.  Illinois Governor Pat Quinn highlighted the impact of the new, modern offender management solution – “It will save Illinois’ taxpayers millions of dollars while increasing public safety throughout the state.” 

This approach – driving efficiency through functional alignment with modern supporting systems – isn’t just for corrections, it can be a blueprint for improving agency capabilities and citizen services across government. 

Richard Zak
Industry Solutions Manager – Justice & Public Safety, Microsoft State & Local Government