A New Approach to Offender Case Management
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A New Approach to Offender Case Management

Rita Reynolds, CIO, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP)
Rita Reynolds, CIO, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP)

Rita Reynolds, CIO, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP)

The County Commissioners Association has deployed several solutions in the past two years that benefit county government. The first is the Criminal Justice Unified Case Management (CJ-UCM) for Adult Probation, Jail and District Attorneys. This solution is built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and combined with a set of NEIM-compliant data standards. The solution provides for a core set of offender data that is accessible by the three county departments. Then through security roles, additional modules for each department reside on top of the core and serve as a collection point for department specific data. It is in use in at least one department in 20 of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

Time Management with CJ-UCM

This solution has then been reused as the basis for a Juvenile Detention case management system referred to as JUV-UCM.  The CJ-UCM CORE and Jail modules were reused, with the jail portion being retooled for juvenile use. Currently, the JUV-UCM is ready to be deployed, but detention centers are waiting on confirmation for some implementation grant funding.  By using the foundational CJ-UCM, development time was cut substantially.

Security for the County Employee

A surprise with Microsoft Solutions implementation was setting up Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS), which is not an easy process. This approach is extremely important for security, since it enables the county employee to use their active directory login to access UCM. However, we found that education on the implementation of this approach requires an understanding that many county IT staff have not been exposed to before.

Policy Issues with Cloud Applications

Implementation of proper security policies is a pain point experienced with Microsoft. While we have implemented Active Directory Federation Services (county employees are able to use their county login for UCM), there are still tremendous security policy issues that arise with implementing a cloud based application. County users have gone from having to VPN in to access their case management system to being able to walk up to any computer and login. CCAP has developed policies that counties are now in the process of implementing to ensure that case management data is not compromised. Key areas include when staff should be accessing their data, which devices they are authorized to access the application and what the violations are if the policy is not adhered to.

“With CJ-UCM’s success, we have had many counties wanting to implement it quickly. Then they realized that implementing UCM will be beneficial but that it will take time to do it right”

Standardization Critical for Multiple Counties

Since we created a solution that multiple counties are using, it has been necessary to standardize on the various code sets that county departments use. Some were quite easy, such as implementation of the statewide charge code list. Others, such as disposition codes, we have found to be more difficult. While the UCM has brought about increased use of what we term Global Codes, it is also flexible enough (thanks to the CRM platform) that we were able to create Local Codes, which enables a county to continue to use their variation of  certain code sets.

Balance Expectations Early on

Due to the success early on, we have had many counties wanting to implement CJ-UCM quickly. When we hold the kickoff meeting with the county we review with them the eight gates that we have created to move them through the implementation process. Through this gate process we are able to demonstrate to them that each gate is critical and that some will take more time than others. By taking this approach, they quickly realize that implementing UCM will be beneficial in the end, but that it will take time to do it right!

Business Process Changes must be Identified Prior to going Live

CJ-UCM is a new approach to case management for an offender and many counties have continued to do a multitude of tasks by paper for far too long. We also find that current business processes have grown out of the limitations of older architecture. With CJ-UCM we are able to demonstrate to counties the opportunities for automating various paper processes that they cannot do with their current case management system. That, along with the overview of how CJ-UCM works, leads into a review of their business process and the potential to make improvements. This is critical to the successful implementation of CJ-UCM. Like any new software, you cannot just start using CJ-UCM without reviewing business process.

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