Archives for June 21, 2008

Using Technology to Supervise and Assist Criminal Offenders: SMART-STAT

See for “DC Public Safety” radio and television shows.
See for the web site of the federal Court Services and Offender Services Agency.
See for the “DC Public safety” blog.

Video program available at:

Paul Quander: Information, is the key to anything that we do. It’s the foundation upon which our organization is built. The more information we have, the better use of that information we can make. The more accurate our budget forecast can be, the more accurate our decisions can be on shifting responsibilities and resources, the more effective we can be at our public safety mission. So, information is key to our success.

Narrator: The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency is on the front line for increasing public safety throughout the Washington metropolitan area. An advanced Information System enables the agency to identify opportunities for interventions that will have a positive effect on crime prevention and result in a safer community.

Bill Kirkendale: The information is powerful. The data must be right. It must be ready. And it influences decisions that are made, from the officers who are supervising offenders, all the way to the top. If we have the opportunity to capture information, or to render that information in intelligent fashion that can contribute, or protect civilian lives, and contribute to their public safety, we would be neglectful were we not to employ those techniques.

Narrator: In 1997, Congress set the stage for creation of CSOSA. From the start, the agency’s Information System was viewed as a management tool for accomplishing the agency’s mission.

Calvin Johnson: Data is at the core of how we are doing strategic performance management within the agency. Our shop has statisticians, social science analysts, we also have program analysts. And those folk have the skill set necessary to kind of cull through all of the data that we have and to actually interpret it and well yet analyze it and then actually interpret it for the agency.

Narrator: Information on those individuals under supervision by CSOSA, is provided by a number of innovative technologies:
GPS satellite tracking, and kiosks, track and monitor.
DNA, substance abuse, and drug testing samples are collected.
Podcasts provide information on a wide range of subjects.
These and other monitoring and supervision programs, supply data to the SMART system the foundation of the agency’s case management practice. These data are analyzed further, with results delivered to the desktop through the agency’s SMART-STAT system.

Paul Quander: SMART is our information system. It allows us to manage the information, the data. It’s our life blood. It allows us to delve into every aspect of this organization.

Calvin Johnson: It’s a case management system that really tracks all of the transactions that are relevant to successful reintegration of folk. Again, whether they’re coming from prisons or whether they are coming through jails, or whether they are coming directly from the court.

Paul Quander: And from there we can be strategic. We can be surgical as to what we need to do, but it all starts with gathering the information. It all starts with being able to compartmentalize that information. It all begins with analyzing that information and then making good choices for how we’re going to use that information.

Calvin Johnson: SMART-STAT is what we consider the strategic performance management component that uses primarily data coming out of SMART.

Paul Quander: SMART-STAT allows us to slice it and dice it, dissect it anyway that we want to, which is just fantastic. So we can sit down and we can take a look at any segment of our population and then we can tailor a response.

Calvin Johnson: We have to live together and we have to figure out a way to basically address not only risk but also their needs. And we need to figure out a way to better manage that. And every day we’re using the best science out there. We’re using the best solutions out there so that we can manage it.

Narrator: The performance management capabilities implemented by CSOSA enable the agency to accomplish their mission of delivering the right program, to the right people, at the right time.

Paul Quander: What we are using is a risk assessment tool. We’re managing risks. And we want to use these tools before events take place. And so that’s why we want to be proactive. That’s why we have flags. That’s why we have alerts. We’re managing risks and this is the best way to manage that risk before an event takes place. To be proactive.

Calvin Johnson: I believe that visitors and residents to the District of Columbia are safer as a, you know, as a direct result of having systems in place that actually provide for ongoing monitoring. Not only of the risk component but also of the needs component.

Paul Quander: Everything that we do is information driven whether it’s the accountability side or the treatment side. But it’s all part of the treatment and the supervision regimen for our offenders. You can’t have one without the other and they’re both dependent upon the information. They’re both dependent upon data, and they’re both dependent upon good use of that data to make intelligent, well-informed decisions.