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Community Supervision

The United States has a probation and parole population of over 4 million people according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This leads to probation and parole officers being overworked, overwhelmed, and in need of assistance when it comes to getting their job done. In the past, supervising individuals on probation and parole has been timely and costly but new technology is evolving and being developed to reduce agency costs and create more efficiency.

Supervision officers have daily tasks of checking in with their supervised clients, meeting with them and making sure they are compliant. However, with supervising clients comes the daunting and time-consuming task of paperwork. In a recent virtual focus group hosted by TRACKtech, we found that majority of the parole officers interviewed spend 30% of their week completing administrative activities that include paperwork, compliance reports, and data input. Having to manually complete paperwork takes up valuable time that they could spend on helping clients or completing other duties. Before COVID, curfew checks and drive time to clients homes also took up a good portion of their everyday tasks. They can spend hours driving to and from house visits and having 100-150 caseloads can make for a long day without thinking of all the other tasks they have to complete. 

With the increased use and development of technology, there are efficient and helpful features for probation and parole officers when it comes to completing their everyday tasks. The use of various forms of electronic monitoring reduces drive time and the costs of vehicle maintenance. It also mitigates safety risks officers have when performing house or curfew checks. Being able to remotely perform these checks frees up time for the officer as well to complete other work. Increasing time efficiency and the use of technology can allow for more face-to-face meetings in a day through virtual meetings or calls. This ensures that clients are staying compliant and allows for increased communication with their officer if necessary. The use of technology can drastically increase efficiency and compliance, while reducing agency costs and safety risks.

TRACKtech understands the difficulty officers face when it comes to having overwhelming caseloads and not enough time to get everything done. That is why we have designed a fully integrated, rehabilitative community supervision platform that allows officers to have more time within their large caseloads but also provides them with more resources and support to give individuals. Our TRACKphone allows probation and parole officers the ability to remotely check in with program members through biometric identification and videoconferencing. Geofencing capabilities are built into the phone and alerts are sent to officers when individuals are non-compliant or in violation of geo parameters. TRACKphone also has built in support resources and programs for members to take advantage of. Our solutions provide officers an efficient way to stay on top of their caseload, while reducing agency costs. Join us in working smart to get it RIGHT.

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Community Supervision

Transitioning back into society after prison can be hard for many as a lot can change in the world depending on how much time is spent behind bars. New technology evolves, jobs are more complicated and harder to acquire, and many face barriers economically when it comes to providing a stable lifestyle for themselves. Released individuals lack the support and resources to successfully enter society again, as there is a bare minimum of reentry programs and assistance available. 

There are currently over 2.3 million people spending some of their life incarcerated, but once released, they struggle with what comes next. The Politico published an article about five new policy ideas for fixing life after prison and the reentry system that affects so many. Individuals released from prison face huge obstacles when rebuilding their lives and many end up back in prison, as “according to one study, almost 70 percent are re-arrested within three years.” The next major criminal justice reform initiative is working to provide rehabilitative and reentry support to individuals to successfully become part of society again. COVID-19 has prompted the release of individuals in prison to help reduce overcrowding, prompting even more support for reentry initiatives.

The Politico goes into detail about the five topics that lead to new initiatives to help reduce recidivism and provide useful support and skills for life after incarceration. With reentry comes a link between recidivism and homelessness. Tackling homelessness can reduce jail overcrowding as many facilities’ populations are comprised of homeless people who steal, suffer from mental health issues or simply commit a crime to have a place to stay. Another study found that beginning reentry programs while individuals are still incarcerated can drastically decreased recidivism and sets up that individual to live a more successful life with learned skills. Additionally, educating society on criminal records and the different levels of crime classification can reduce the stigma associated with ‘having a record’. Many face barriers when it comes to applying for jobs and housing due to their past. There are high unemployment rates for previously incarcerated individuals, but this is being solved through facilities helping inmates find jobs before release. This ensures one less thing they have to do and sets them up on the right track to live a stable life. Finally, assisting in obtaining proper identification would help individuals be successful with reentry as it can be hard for many to do so. These are just the bare minimum of problems when it comes to reentry that solving would extremely benefit individuals.

There are many programs, resources and technology available for offenders and agencies to deploy. TRACKtech has created and developed an evidence-based, data-driven, mobile platform that offers comprehensive rehabilitation and compliance monitoring capabilities. Our solution enhances communication, monitors risks and provides an approach to enhance recovery and support reentry requirements within the criminal justice industry. TRACKtech solutions can help PO’s support their clients by providing behavioral health programs, reentry programs, life support skills and programs, and access to housing, education and job listings. If you have questions about how our products and services can benefit an agency, please reach out to us at sales@tracktechllc.com. There is so much to be done to make the entry to reentry process smooth and seamless for those involved in the process and we are here to help.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

More and more data is being collected to support there is evidence of success from emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD)/ risk needs responsivity (RNR) framework and principles. The Council for Exceptional Children defines emotional and behavioral disorders as a condition exhibiting an inability to learn, build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, inappropriate types of behavior or feelings, a general pervasive mood of unhappiness/depression and lastly, the tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The Federal Probation Journal defines risk needs responsivity (RNR) as a framework that officers use to figure out which individuals are most likely to recidivate again and what drives this action. It is based on the adherence to principles of effective intervention including the risk, need and responsivity principles. The risk principle is matching the level of service to the offender’s level of risk and results in providing intensive services to higher-risk clients and minimal services to lower-risk clients. The need principle targets criminogenic needs or dynamic risk factors related to criminal behavior such as pro-criminal attitudes and substance abuse. Finally, the responsivity principle matches style and mode of intervention to the abilities, motivation and learning style of the offender.

One of the largest changes that comes from successful implementation and use of EBD/RNR framework is the reduction in recidivism rates. On average, 45% of released prison populations reoffend and end up back in jail according to the Justice Center. However, 25% of the 45% end up back in prison due to technical violations, such as missing appointments or failing drug tests, which can be avoided with the proper intervention. The use of EBD/RNR in these technical violations can help individuals get to the root of why they missed appointments or how they can start to deter from using drugs.

According to a study done by the Federal Probation Journal, adherence to the risk needs responsivity principles showed promising results with recidivism rates and helping alter people’s criminogenic behaviors. Adherence to at least one principle led to small (3%) decrease in recidivism rates, with adherence to at least two principles leading to a large (17%) decrease in recidivism and lastly, adherence to all three principles led to a larger (25%) decrease in recidivism rates. Officers who applied RNR when with probation clients only had 53.8% reconvicted compared to officers who did not apply RNR had a 64% reconviction rate of those on probation. Finally, non-adherence showed a small (2%) increase in recidivism rates. Data is providing evidence that RNR framework and EBD can be successful in helping change individuals lives for the better. It provides support and acceptable behaviors that successfully rehabilitate people back into society and drastically lower recidivism rates.

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Recidivism

When it comes to helping reduce relapse and recidivism the new norm is taking a rehabilitative approach. Community corrections is taking on a different meaning, as helping provide support and resources for individuals in the system is a priority. Technology solutions, as well as behavioral change tools, are two ways to help rehabilitate and alter people’s lives for the better when it comes to reentering society and changing recidivating behavior.

Technology solutions are helping to enhance caseload efficiency for supervisors and provide resources to individuals to reduce relapse and recidivism. With the pandemic still affecting the normal way of life, technology has become the lifeline for the world. Virtual court hearings, the release of individuals to mitigate overcrowding and the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, and remote accessibility is the new norm. Technology is also budget friendly compared to resources and funds used to house inmates. 

Many individuals have underlying triggers or ways of thinking that cause them to relapse and reoffend, but behavioral change tools help them avoid these. Different evidence-based practices can be deployed in community supervision to assist individuals. Risk Needs Responsivity (RNR) is adherence to the three most assessed principles of effective intervention, according to the United States Courts. The risk principle matches the level of service to an offender’s level of risk, resulting in providing intensive services to higher-risk clients and minimal services to lower-risk clients. The need principle targets criminogenic needs or dynamic risk factors functionally related to criminal behavior such as procriminal attitudes and substance abuse. The responsivity principle matches style and modes of intervention to abilities, motivation and the learning style of the offender (cognitive-behavioral interventions are generally most effective). RNR helps identify what drives individuals to relapse and reoffend and to outline solutions to help stop these behaviors. Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy is used to uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing self-destructive behaviors and beliefs. By addressing these issues, constructive ways of thinking can be developed to produce healthier behaviors and attitudes on life and goals. Additional programs such as support groups, classes and trainings, are available. These behavioral change tools and programs are just the beginning of resources and ways when it comes to changing individuals thinking and actions behind their relapse and reoffending. 

TRACKtech offers remote and accessible programs to help rehabilitate individuals and provide support. Our mobile platform offers comprehensive rehabilitation and compliance monitoring capabilities. Our solution enhances communication, monitors risks and provides an approach to enhance recovery and support reentry requirements within the criminal justice industry. Addressing a wide range of supervised individuals’ needs, from healthcare to those of the justice-involved, the platform integrates community-based resources to enable successful rehabilitation, reentry, and increased public safety. Our technology allows supervisors and specialists to have improved contact with their clients to guide them and create the right track to avoiding relapse and reoffending.

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Recidivism

Recidivism is a problem that all previously incarcerated individuals struggle with once released. Within 3 years, around 83% of individuals released from prison will be sent back according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The social costs of recidivism are widespread. Many struggle with finding a stable lifestyle as it is hard for them to maintain positive relationships while going in and out of prison. Another barrier is the ability to find and maintain a stable job and income to provide for themselves. The stigma of having a prior conviction on one’s record causes issues for individuals when it comes to finding a job and housing after being released. A lot of individuals also struggle with the stigma associated with wearing an ankle monitoring device. It can cause frustration and a lack of will to want to do everyday life activities. This impairs their ability to lead as normal a life as possible when entering society again.

There are also major financial costs of recidivism for individuals and also for the criminal justice system. Individuals now face the costs of lawyers, posting bail and losing their jobs again. When people cannot make bail and are on pretrial, they take up resources such as jail space and facility costs. According to the Federal Register, the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates was $34,704.12 ($94.82 per day) in 2016 and $36,299.25 ($99.45 per day) in FY 2017. The average annual cost to confine an inmate in a Residential Re-entry Center was $29,166.54 ($79.69 per day) in 2016 and $32,309.80 ($88.52 per day) in 2017. This adds up quickly when jails and prisons are over max capacity and the funding for these facilities comes from taxpayer money. There are solutions to reduce the social and financial costs of recidivism through innovative solutions and technology.

TRACKtech is a mobile solution designed to address the challenges of high recidivism rates, overwhelming officer caseloads, and the need to increase public safety. TRACKtech has created and developed an evidence-based, data-driven, mobile platform that offers comprehensive rehabilitation and compliance monitoring capabilities. This allows for individuals to have easier communication with their officers, access to a wide variety of resources, and help to keep them on the right track to reduce their chances of recidivating. Utilizing the TRACKphone also decreases the stigma of wearing an ankle monitor and can provide rehabilitation to individuals. Recidivism is costly for both the individual and the criminal justice system but there are solutions to reduce this at our fingertips.

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Community Supervision

The United States has some of the highest incarceration and community supervision rates in the world. With 2020 coming to a close, justice reform and prison reform have been top priority for states, trying and reduce the number of those who come into contact with the justice system. As law makers and reformers realize the drastic need for reform, this ultimately will help reduce overcrowding, safety risks, and the financing needed to support jails and prisons. By changing the justice system from a punitive one to rehabilitation, it is creating more opportunity for individuals to succeed in society and give them a second chance.  

The Bureau of Justice Statistics published a report detailing the probation and parole rates in the United States for the year 2017-2018. Adults on probation make up 80% of those under community supervision and those on parole make up 20%. Overall, adult populations on probation or parole decreased about 2% from 4,508,900 individuals at the end of 2017 to 4,399,000 individuals at the end of 2018. The total community-supervision population in 2018 was at the lowest is has been since 1998 and has decreased each year since 2008. Parole numbers remain about the same with a slight increase as just shy of 1 million individuals serving parole.

The Prison Policy Initiative details the number of people behind bars in the United States in an overview of the prison system. Currently, the United States locks up more people per capita than any other nation, as 698 per 100,000 residents are behind bars. That results in an incarceration population of more than 2.3 million individuals. 44,000 youth, 42,000 in immigration detention, 631,000 in local jails, 226,000 in federal prisons and jails, and 1,291,000 in state prisons. These are just the beginning of the alarming numbers of those incarcerated.

Many individuals are stuck waiting in jail or prison for many reasons. While not all offenders should be released, many low risk offenders or those suffering from mental health issues that need more help than the system can provide, may be better off on community supervision. Remote Smartphone monitoring is a solution to those on pretrial as it reduces overcrowding, allocates resources better, and allows non-violent individuals to avoid a lengthy jail term before they are even proven guilty. Reducing and eliminating cash bail is another option to allow everyone the same opportunity to post bail and continue working instead of sitting in jail for months until their court date. Finally, sentence reform can help reduce minimum and maximum sentences that are unnecessary and instead find a more helpful and rehabilitative solution to get to the root cause of someone recidivating or ending up in the system in the first place.

Rehabilitative support and supervision programs are imperative when it comes to reducing the number of incarcerated individuals and those under supervision, as it gets to the root of the problem of why people commit crimes and what needs to happen to change their behavior. 

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Community Supervision

Almost every pretrial, probation and/or parole supervisor are overwhelmed with overloaded caseloads, some of which are assigned upwards of 150-200 cases. Administrative tasks, commuting, and check-ins take up straining amounts of time and often leads to unattended caseloads of low-risk and high-risk individuals. New technology is being developed to help with these inefficiencies and allowing supervisors to allocate their time and resources appropriately and timely. Technology is the new paper when it comes to keeping organized, case management and enhancing resource allocation, caseload optimization and operational efficiency. 

TRACKtech has created and developed an evidence-based, data-driven, mobile platform that offers comprehensive rehabilitation and compliance monitoring capabilities. Our solution enhances communication, monitors risks and provides an approach to enhance recovery and support reentry requirements within the criminal justice industry. Addressing a wide range of supervised individuals’ needs, from healthcare to those of the justice-involved, the platform integrates community-based resources to enable successful rehabilitation, reentry, and increased public safety.

TRACKcase has been proven to increase officer workload efficiency and capacity. Officers can see their entire caseload on one dashboard, highlighting which clients/program members are in compliance and which ones are not. This simple notification helps the officer know where their attention is needed most at the time. Officers can meet with three times as many clients in any given day by leveraging teleconferencing verses travelling to each individual’s home or having those clients/program members report in person.  Mass check-ins allow an officer to request a check-in from each client/program member on their caseload simultaneously. Out of compliance check-ins will result in a notification to the officer, without the officer having to sort through their entire caseload providing an operational efficiency. In addition, virtual meetings eliminate the wait times for clients in the probation office and reduce the likelihood of them interacting with non-associates or the introduction to new negative influences or peers. For officers, another benefit to video teleconferencing is the increase of safety and a decrease in the potential COVID-19 exposure.

TRACKtech’s platform, includes a broad spectrum of data and workflow automation, enables officers and agencies to implement individualized and responsive case plans, connecting clients/program members to prosocial, community-based resources, meeting criminogenic needs and reducing the likelihood of recidivism. We can overlay Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) principles and determine through assessments what an offender’s risk is and meet their needs based on behavioral health supports.  Our platform was built in consultation with behavioral health professionals to enable whole-person rehabilitative support while providing compliance assessment services for individuals in the process of re-entering society.  In addition, we equip re-entry teams with numerous tools to more effectively monitor and verify an individual’s progress. Rehabilitation and community-based resources are crucial when it comes to a person feeling supported and reintegrating into society. Technology is proving to be useful and helpful to both supervisors and clients, as it provides resources, rehabilitation, efficiency and caseload optimization for all involved.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Being under community supervision takes a toll on individuals, as many need more assistance in creating a stable and supporting lifestyle once released. In the previous blog, we talked about how the use of cognitive behavioral therapy is making positive differences in lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), focuses on exploring relationships among a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. CBT is used to uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing self-destructive behaviors and beliefs. By addressing these issues, constructive ways of thinking can be developed to produce healthier behaviors and attitudes on life and goals. 

CBT allows for the ability to get to the root of a problem and identify why one might behave or act the way they do. Our behavioral health specialist, Lacey Berumen PhD, MNM, LAC, MAC, ADS, has over 20 years of behavioral health experience. She has provided an example of one of countless scenarios where CBT can be deployed to benefit supervisors helping their clients and their clients themselves: 

CBT can be used with clients simply by asking them to think through the situation to the end and decide whether this will be a positive outcome or if this will have negative connotations. For instance, Joe arrives to his office late and frustrated as the bus schedule at his nearby stop has changed. This situation has resulted in his boss being mad at him. Joe is told to think through the situation and how he is feeling by asking some questions. Is it reasonable that a boss would be upset if an employee was late to work? If so, how might Joe turn this into a positive outcome? Upon finding out the bus schedule has changed, Joe could call the employer and let him know he will be late. Joe could look at other bus schedules that will get him to work another way and on time. Joe may be new to riding the bus so he may need assistance from his supervisor to solve this dilemma.

TRACKtech has extensive capabilities that allow for an individual to access necessary, helpful, and local resources. If Joe was using a TRACKphone, he could have the regional bus website or app quickly available to him. TRACKphone allows the client to have access to useful resources and programs to overcome situations and reach out for help to their supervisors. TRACKcase allows supervisors to have easier contact with clients and provides the ability to check in with them, helping solve crisis through video conferencing, messaging and deploying the use of CBT. This can help alleviate and solve stressful situations that impact clients lives. TRACKtech solutions offer comprehensive rehabilitation and compliance monitoring capabilities to enhance communication, monitor risks and provide an approach to enhance recovery and support reentry requirements. Getting to the root of the problem and keeping people on track is possible with the right tools, including the use of CBT.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Many individuals struggle with mental health issues, whether they are minor or major. During times like COVID-19, many struggle even more so than usual as they are isolated in their homes and from family and friends. As a probation and parole officer, staying in touch with clients and providing resources for them to overcome these obstacles can prove to be challenging, while helping to maintain stable mental health.

One approach that has seen positive change is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), focuses on exploring relationships among a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. CBT is used to uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing self-destructive behaviors and beliefs. By addressing these issues, constructive ways of thinking can be developed to produce healthier behaviors and attitudes on life and goals. The American Psychological Association highlights that CBT is based on core principles of psychological problems involving faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking, learned patterns or unhelpful behavior, and those suffering to learn better ways of coping with them, relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives. 

There are a variety of CBT treatments that involve different strategies. One is learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking, which is creating problems, and then to reevaluate them to change these distortions. Others are gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others, using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations and learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in one’s own abilities. CBT is about changing behavioral patterns and helping your client recognize them and the factors that drive their criminogenic needs. 

More therapists and supervisors are supporting that cognitive behavioral therapy is proving to make a difference in the lives of those being supervised by helping establish what factors might be behind their need to commit crimes. Studies of CBT have shown it to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental illnesses and to keep individuals on their path to rehabilitation into society. 

TRACKtech has created and developed an evidence-based, data-driven, mobile platform that offers comprehensive rehabilitation and compliance monitoring capabilities. Our solution enhances communication, monitors risks and provides an approach to enhance recovery and support reentry requirements within the criminal justice industry. Behavioral health assessments and resources are available for those being supervised through TRACKphone and TRACKphoneLite. They allow supervisors to be in contact with clients through check ins and video conferencing to establish a connection and support system. With the assessment results, CBT can be deployed through video conferencing to help the client with life problems and help get to the root cause of their criminogenic needs.

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Public Safety

Many individuals struggle with their mental health and creating a stable lifestyle. Homelessness is one of the severe issues that needs fixing in the world. Mercy Housing published an article with 7 startling facts about homelessness in the United States.

First off, the homeless population in the United States could fill five football stadiums, as it was determined that 567,715 people were homeless on any given night in January of 2019, but this number still does not fully capture the state of homelessness in our country.

One in every 30 children, 2.5 million children per year, experience homelessness, which is roughly the entire population of Chicago.

Because children experience homelessness at such an early age, many have brain development setbacks that hinder their learning, handling of emotions, relationships, etc. and at least 40% of homeless school-age children have a mental health problem.

There are nearly 37,085 homeless veterans in the United States and more than half of them have a mental and/or physical disability. After fighting for our country, veterans are more likely than non-veterans to experience homelessness, mental health problems and substance abuse, as many struggle with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

On a single night in 2019, homeless services providers had more than 48,000 beds set aside for survivors of domestic violence. Survivors of domestic violence and abuse gather the courage to leave their situations even when they have nothing, increasing their risk of homelessness and lack of resources.

Being homeless decreases an individual’s life span by 20-30 years, as the average life expectancy of a homeless individual is 50 years old.

Finally, homelessness is a risk factor for anyone, as many live paycheck to paycheck and unexpected events turn people’s lives around for the worse.

Homelessness is a problem that will not go away on its own. People continue to provide support and resources for those in the community to fight this widespread problem but cannot do it alone. If you have the resources or time to volunteer or donate items, that little bit can go a long way for someone in need.

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