Massivedynamic.co
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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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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Public Safety

An article published by the Prison Policy Initiative suggests that the long-time stigma of releasing those awaiting trial does not harm public safety. There were no corresponding waves in increased crime in states, cities and counties. “We found four states, as well as nine cities and counties, where there is existing data on public safety from before and after the adoption of pretrial reforms.” All but one of these saw decreases or negligible increases in crime after implementing the pretrial reforms. This is a game changer, as COVID-19 has made jails even more dangerous and vulnerable for incarcerated individuals to become sick. By having pretrial release programs, individuals are staying safer and helping mitigate outside contact to those already behind bars.

In the past criminal justice reformers have long supported pretrial measures and programs but were opposed by district attorneys, police departments, the commercial bail industry and the public saying that releasing individuals puts community safety at risk. However, new studies are finding this to be untrue and that releasing non-violent individuals into community supervision decreases the risk of spreading COVID-19 and prison overcrowding. “About 75% of people held by jails are legally innocent and awaiting trial, often because they are too poor to make bail.” Jail populations can decrease significantly if more individuals are released into pretrial programs and supervision.

TRACKtech is working to keep communities safe, as well as reduce recidivism and stigma’s surrounding community supervision. Our solutions provide whole-person rehabilitation support and compliance monitoring services to those under any type of community supervision, such as pretrial, probation and parole. TRACKphone Lite allows courts to maintain communication and any necessary monitoring with pretrial individuals  as well as send them calendar reminders for upcoming court appearances. Rehabilitative support and additional resources are available through the app for individuals. Utilizing TRACKtech solutions provides a way to check in and communicate with pretrial individuals in a COVID-19 safe protocol prior to their court dates while also keeping the community safe.

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Recidivism

The Crime Report published an article about how many individuals still face consequences and barriers after being released from prison. People are naming these consequences and barriers ‘internal exile’, as they prevent many from successfully reintegrating back into society. Although some consequences come from stigmatized views of individuals who are released, most barriers are created by federal and state laws and regulations. Due to this, Congress is now exploring the option of a new form of relief, a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This certificate will “address the absence of any general federal restoration of rights regime, leaving aside the once-robust, now rare and erratic, presidential pardon power.” The proposed certificate falls under the RE-ENTER Act of 2019 stating that a judge can issue a certificate to alleviate the burdens of a criminal record, essentially giving individuals a second chance.

Although it may seem like this certificate was just introduced, it has been around for more than a half century and was created in New York. It is currently authorized in 12 states and is becoming a major national reform law. It is important that individuals do not continue to face the many barriers they do after serving their time and trying to get their lives back on track. The certificate would alleviate the burden of not being able to fully integrate back into society and help reduce pressure on tens of thousands of Americans. “In grand, formal language, the bill explains that it is the “sense of Congress” that “a Federal certificate of rehabilitation shall act as an expungement of any prior conviction of an eligible offender for the purposes of any employment, licensing, education, housing, or other determination;” and, that a certificate should constitute “evidence of due care” in employment, housing and a variety of other contexts.” However, a certificate does not erase or pardon past convictions, it still allows access to a record if known about.

There is hope that this certificate, expanded and added upon by Congress, will make a significant difference in the lives of many. It provides a rehabilitative approach to criminal justice and is removing more barriers for people integrating back into society.

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Community Supervision

Many countries have high prison, probation and parole rates. However, most are working to reduce these numbers drastically as times are changing and different approaches are being explored, including rehabilitation instead of punitive ways. The United States has some of the highest incarceration, probation and parole rates compared to other countries, like Canada.

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 serve parole.

Canada, compared to the United States, has a fraction of individuals under community supervision according to a Statistics of Canada report. Canada is divided into a provinces and territorial system but also the Federal government plays a role. The provinces manage their own remand, individuals not yet sentenced, and provincial correctional centers who is anyone serving a sentence of less than 2 years. The Federal government runs the prisons and correctional centers for anyone serving federal time, which is any sentence over 2 years. The provinces had 94,904 individuals under community supervision in the year 2017-2018 and the Federal government had less than 14,128 individuals.

Comparing these two countries together, the United States far succeeds the number of individuals in Canada on probation and parole. Rehabilitating people better into society and reducing recidivism is imperative when it comes to changing the criminal justice system in the United States. Additionally, more individuals need to be supported and the root of criminal activity discovered, as this will help improve incarceration, probation and parole rates, as these numbers are alarming.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Many jail populations increase due to drug offenses, a common felony that is seen to also cause recidivism. According to an article published by WMUR 9, The Valley Street Jail in Manchester, New Hampshire has seen a decrease in drug offenses due to a new treatment program being implemented in the facility. They are trying to help people struggling with addiction problems in the hopes of keeping them out of jail and sober. Many people who have substance abuse disorders go to jail or prison, often more than once. Because of this, the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections is teaching people how to stay sober in the hopes of giving them a second chance and not returning to jail.

This program started two years ago. Over a period of 60 days, inmates go through a treatment program that is five days a week and runs all day. They have the opportunity to be in a learning environment where they are taught about recovery and given messages of hope. The program strives to reintegrate the inmates back into society and reestablish a stable and safe environment for them, by helping them find employment and insurance. Once inmates complete the program, they are placed on an electronic monitoring device to ensure that they stay sober and on track once they are back in society. The program has seen promising results as only 32% are repeat offenders and are involved in recidivism. However, every year they have reported recidivism rates decreasing. The program hopes to reduce and break the cycle of addiction to help inmates start over.

TRACKtech, LLC was created to reduce recidivism rates by reintegrating inmates back into society through a network of support from their supervisors and outside resources. The TRACKphone provides access to outside resources and allows for supervisors to check in remotely with their program members through biometric identification and video conferencing, as well as be in constant communication. The supervisor and program member can establish a relationship in which the program member feels supported and has the tools to become a functioning member of society again, all while staying sober.

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Recidivism

ABC released an article following the story of a convicted man, Micah Turner, and his hopes to reduce recidivism. He was convicted of three charges of manslaughter of his daughter, son and brother-in-law in after rolling his car. He originally was only sentenced to ten years’ probation with two years of house arrest, but then served eight years in prison after breaking his probation. He eventually came to terms with himself and what he had done while being incarcerated. He had a lot of time to reflect and when he was released realized how hard it is to return to society.

From his experience, He said the prison facility gives you a bus ticket and $50 upon release but offer no other programs or help once inmates are released. It makes life very difficult for individuals and leads to higher rates of recidivism. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, one-third of inmates released return to Florida prisons within five years of their prison release date. In order to help fight this number and offer assistance to inmates being released from prison, Turner came up with a solution.

Turner and his wife started collecting items such as  clothing and toiletries to give to men and women when they get out of prison. They create small care packages for people to help their transition back into society. With these packages people have a better chance of providing for themselves leading to less recidivism. They are hoping to continue to be able to provide for those and help rehabilitate former inmates into society.

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Recidivism

A program aimed at decreasing juvenile recidivism and conviction of crimes was created a year ago in Southwest Virginia, according to an article published by the SWVA Today. The program is called Functional Family Therapy services and was created to intervene with youth before they get too involved in the criminal justice system. The program offers family-based treatment and diversion services by working with juveniles who suffer from substance use and behavioral or emotional issues. However, this program is working on trying to intervene in a different way than the usual standard. It requires that all of the child’s family participate in the program, as it makes therapy for the child more effective and for their siblings as well if they have any. This helps reduce the risk of their siblings becoming involved in crimes as well.

The program was finally able to launch after receiving the funding it needed. It focuses on youth in the age ranges of 11 to 18, who are referred by their probation officers. The therapy providers also travel to the children’s homes to eliminate and help with transportation issues. It also helps the families and children feel more comfortable and willing to participate as it is in a place where they feel safe and welcomed. “The 29th Judicial District already has a handful of youth enrolled in the program” and are hoping to expand the program even more. They feel it is working and helping reduce recidivism rates in juveniles. Also, it is helping keep their siblings out of jail by providing the services in home and looking to educate youth to keep them off the streets.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

A 2019 article published by Gallup highlights the struggles of substance abuse for Americans. According to the article, “close to half of U.S. adults, 46% have dealt with substance abuse problems in their families.” Broken down, 18% of this 46% have just alcohol related abuse issues, 10% have drug related abuse and 18% have experienced both alcohol and drug problems. The survey given reported that 36% of Americans have had alcohol and drug abuse cause issues in their families and affect their lives. There were also alarming conclusions that the percentage of users affected by these numbers are under the age of 55 and have higher rates of alcohol abuse and drug abuse than those over the age of 55, which is what would have been expected given that adults in these ages are more likely to abuse substances.

The article also touched on who was more likely to report family problems due to these issues. Women were more likely than men to report drug problems, but adults without college degrees, 39%, were more likely to report family drinking problems than those with a degree. Religion also was mentioned as an influence on whether or not people suffer from problems with drinking and drugs. Those who rarely attend religious services had higher rates of family problems due to these substance abuses. As time goes on, there are more reported drinking problems higher than any other decades now, which has now reached 36%. These drug and abuse problems are affecting families country wide and causing issues that are inflicting damage in families.

Individuals who are behind bars and struggling with a substance abuse add more stress to their families. They are already away from them and then they still suffer from substance use, putting even more pressure on themselves and their families. In the criminal justice system, many inmates do not get the proper care or programming they need to overcome substance abuse. More programs should be made available in prisons to help them overcome addiction and start over. It will reduce recidivism rates and help keep families together.

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