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

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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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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Justice Reform

The Crime Report published an article about juvenile probation and how originally it was designed to keep young people out of jail but has recently been a driver for youth incarceration. “There are far more young people in the justice system under the supervision of probation departments than there are in any other aspect of the system,” says David Muhammad, a former deputy probation commissioner in New York City who is now executive director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. Youth arrests have dropped from 2 million a year in the early 2000s to around 700,000 annually and many facilities are closing juvenile detention facilities. This has led to an increase in youth being on probation and parole. However, most struggle to get out of the system and rehabilitate successfully back into society.

On average, about two-thirds of youth are placed on probation by juvenile courts, leading to a reduced incarceration rate of about 60% compared to 10 or 15 years ago. However, this leads to youth becoming trapped in a cycle of recidivating and being on probation several times. It also opens the likelihood of them having technical violations resulting in detention or being sent back to jail. While the reduced incarceration rate is a positive move forward, the support for youth community supervision needs to also continue reforming with the criminal justice system changing from punitive to a rehabilitative focus.

TRACKtech is changing the way that probation and parole officers and supervisors can provide supportive and vital resources for individuals to break the cycle of being stuck in the system.  TRACKphone provides officers and clients the ability to be in constant contact and communicate via video conferencing, two-way messaging and through biometric identification check-ins. TRACKcase provides officers with the ability to geofence and monitor the location of youth, as well as check in with them. Behavioral health resources,  homeless shelters, and life skills resources, are available through the TRACKphone for clients.

Additionally, check-in eForms can be created by supervisors for clients to fill out, checking on them and to see where they can help the most. TRACKtech is working to change the way individuals, including youth, are rehabilitated back into society in the hopes of reducing recidivism and providing necessary resources for people to be successful when integrating back into society.   

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Public Safety

An article published by the Baltimore Sun earlier this year highlights how locking young people up will not result in less crime. New legislation and initiatives are being created in the hopes of addressing crime and violence in Baltimore. The crime rates among youth are due to many of them living in poverty conditions and having experienced trauma. These factors are hard ones to deal with when it comes to addressing crime rates and violence. A program was created named the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success that successfully looks at coordinating with city and community partners to address youth crime. The office launched BmoreLive to provide meaningful and entertaining programming for youth to enhance public safety and keep them occupied off the streets.

This programming helped keep crime rates down in juveniles and has shown to be effective. With identifying gaps in services and partnering with community actors, the BmoreLive is working to reduce youth crime and promoting better youth development. A punitive system is not helpful when fighting against crime in youth. Incarcerating youth does not teach them right from wrong when it comes to crime and does reduce their mentality surrounding the issue. When a child is incarcerated at a young age, it is very likely that they will commit another crime and end up in prison as an adult. Further, locking children up can lead to suffrage from trauma sustained in prison or mental health issues.

Because of these issues surrounding young incarceration, policy-makers are investing in more community-based services and programs that work on reducing incarceration and recidivism in youth populations. Putting juveniles behind bars does not solve public safety issues and does not result in less crime. Prevention efforts and justice reform for youth is necessary when it comes to keeping them occupied and committing less crime.  

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Public Safety

Community supervision has become the new norm for officers to monitor individuals out on bail, during pretrial, or serving probation and parole time. However, it is difficult to monitor those who have committed low level offenses or are registered sex offenders, as they are not closely monitored through tracking devices. In an article posted by the Crime Report, it is estimated that 25,000 convicted sex offenders and predators across the U.S. are unaccounted for. This is due to them registering their addresses as homeless shelters or from them moving and never being located concluding that their whereabouts are unknown to law enforcement.

There is a concerning issue at hand for how to monitor these individuals on the limited budgets and time of officers. This shortcoming predates the pandemic and has only increased the problem as space in jails and prisons is limited, so many have been released. Although steps have been taken to try to protect victims and those harmed by these individuals, it is not always conclusive. State registries often have many errors, including wrong addresses, names of individuals that have passed away, and some that have not verified their whereabouts in years. A new way of addressing the issue and protecting the community is vital.

TRACKtech is committed to problem solving, especially when it comes to monitoring individuals and keeping the public safe. TRACKphone allows officers to monitor the location of their program member without having to visually see them, as they can promptly request check-ins that require biometric identification. Officers can also set up geofencing and parameters that alert them when offenders are violating designated locations. Behavioral and mental health resources and programs are available on the phone for program members to access to help rehabilitate them, instead of punishing them. With the pandemic in full swing and more individuals being released, TRACKtech can provide solutions to urgent matters.

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Community Supervision

Community Supervision is slowly evolving back to the rehabilitative concept it initially started with, according to an article published by The Crime Report. Today, there are 4.5 million Americans under probation or parole, with 2.3 million individuals each year failing to complete their supervision requirements and returning to prison. With the “revolving-door justice” and justice reform happening across the world, people are calling for a radically different approach when it comes to parole and probation and the methods used for it. This initiative commends abandoning punitive aspects of the system and instead focusing on rehabilitative methods. At the moment, community supervision is focused heavily on fines, penalties and jail time for minor non-criminal infractions. By approaching community supervision differently, it will help people transition better back into society and stop punishing them for a crime they have done the time for. It provides a supportive fresh start to those who need it. 

To reduce the number of people under community supervision and to make it less punitive and more equitable, restorative and hopeful, a new EXiT (Executives Transforming Probation and Parole) Strategy has been created.  The reforms of this strategy focus on reducing the number of technical violations, eliminating incarceration for those violations, prioritizing services and support over surveillance and supervision, establishing reasonable probation and parole terms and supporting probation and parole staff with training and resources. Many states, including New York, Michigan, South Dakota and Pennsylvania, have started to follow suit in justice reform by focusing more on rehabilitation versus punishment.

TRACKtech, LLC supports these changes and evolution in community supervision. Our platform is designed to provide rehabilitative resources and support to program members to integrate them successfully into society. Probation and parole officers can monitor program members easily and check in with them through biometric identification and video conferencing. Punitive ways are ineffective when it comes to reducing recidivism rates. Rehabilitative and justice reform movements in community supervision are more helpful and provide results for people re-entering society.

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Justice Reform

The Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice published a statement highlighting the need for justice in youth prisons. The United States criminal justice system like many other systems has flaws. The U.S. has long been the global leader in youth incarceration, as it locks young people up at a higher rate than any other nation. This effects not only the youth, but also their families and social ties by creating trauma and burdens on all. Youth incarceration is overused, as well as ineffective and inefficient when it comes to changing their behavior and positively influencing them.

More cities are realizing that in order to keep youth off the streets and out of jail, they need to have access to community programs and rehabilitative resources. Adolescents are still growing and developing when they are convicted of crimes and sitting in jail does not help them develop or learn from their mistakes. Punitive measures are becoming less and less conducive to changing the behavior of individuals, especially youth. Proper intervention for youth at risk of committing crimes is beneficial for the individual and public safety.

Racism also plays a heavy role in youth incarceration. With justice reform being a prominent topic right now, racism must also be addressed in youth prison systems. By dismantling youth prison systems, it protects children from physical and mental abuse, addresses the problem of racism, and provides alternatives to programs that will help steer adolescents in the right direction.

The joint statement by Fair and Just Prosecution and Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice on Youth Prisons highlights all of these issues and how improving youth corrections will improve public safety, reduce recidivism and keep children from falling into the revolving door of the criminal justice system. There needs to be positive and supportive change in their lives for them to realize the potential they have. Rehabilitation is the new ‘punishment’, in the hopes of helping adolescents stay out of prison and creating second chances for them.

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Justice Reform

Those released from incarceration are faced with many struggles after their release. They hope for change and redemption, and fear that they will not be accepted back into society. These fears are compacted by the way they are portrayed in society. The Board of Supervisors in San Francisco intends to clean up the language used in the criminal justice system. The city and county of San Francisco received a proposal that would cause words such as “felon,” “offender,” “convict,” and “parolee” to be exchanged for more accepting language that does not emphasize the objectification of people, and focuses on more neutral and positive ways to describe these individuals.

Instances of more acceptable language is “returning resident” or “formerly imprisoned/incarcerated person”. Instead of calling someone a “parolee” they would be called a “supervised individual.” A “young offender” or “delinquent” would be described as a “young individual affected by the judicial system.”

With one in every five Californians having a criminal record, this change of language can make a drastic difference. There is a stigma attached to such language that can be incredibly dehumanizing. They want to return to their families and contribute to their communities, but are facing so many barriers hindering their rehabilitation. The Board of Supervisors believes wording with negative connotations should not be one of those barriers. The proposal stresses that “Language shapes the ideas, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and actions of individuals, societies and governments. People-first language places the individual before the criminal record by using neutral, objective, and non-pejorative language.”

The Sentencing Commission, the Reentry Council of the Bay Area, and the Youth Commission of San Francisco – a group of 17 youths aged 12 to 23 – passed resolutions supporting the altered language. However, the proposal has not yet been signed by Mayor London Breed.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

After discovering that 24 adolescent girls were being confined to buildings with fire risks, holes in the walls, mold and water damage, Nebraska authorities have moved them to another facility. The girls were living in the Geneva Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, a rural central Nebraska state-run facility for female juvenile offenders. The inhabitants, ranging from ages 14-18, were sent to the facility as a last resort by the court. Many of them have significant behavioral and mental health problems.

Four state legislators visited the campus unannounced and outlined decrepit circumstances in several of the four campus houses. “It was far worse than I could have imagined,” said Omaha’s Sen. Sara Howard, chair of the Legislature Health and Human Services Committee. Alarming conditions were discovered at the facility, like something from a horror story. When lawmakers toured the campus they discovered girls confined to empty rooms with nothing to occupy them, rooms without working lights, doors without handles, and one girl was even sleeping on a bed frame without a mattress. At least one girl has found sharp metal inside the holes in the wall and cut herself. Some of the girls even claimed to have been locked in their rooms for up to five days at a time. Several of the rooms had water damage, causing mold and mildew, which can cause serious health risks.

In one building, the mechanism that opens doors when a fire occurs was damaged, meaning if a fire were to happen, the girls would be trapped in their rooms and the doors would have to be individually opened by staff members. Howard said that some of the teenagers used a broom and an electrical cord as weapons and proceeded to barricade themselves into a room with a phone. They called the child abuse hotline, local law enforcement, and their parents before staff were able to defuse the situation. “This is an awful scenario for a place, that five or six years agowas running like a top,” Sen. Howard said. “It’s like we just decided to stop making an investment in these kids.”

There were many shortages of staff in the facility, leaving employees to work very long hours. With such a lack of staff availability, there were very limited programming options and activities for the girls in the facility. In a facility meant to be focused on rehabilitation, programming is a necessity, as is a comfortable and safe environment. “I was frankly dumbfounded by the conditions,” said the inspector general of child welfare, Julie Rogers. “It is one thing to hear allegations of a deteriorated facility. But it’s another thing to see those conditions.”

Danette Smith, the CEO of DHHS, promises that they, in combination with the Administrative Services Department, are committed to restoring the facility and creating rehabilitation programming that works and is reliable. “Our goal is a smooth transition to help the girls acclimate to their routine, which includes school, mental health support, structured activities and recreation. We hope to enhance programming and treatment, and provide an environment that is safe, supportive, and gives youth the opportunity to thrive as they transition from the YRTCs into a successful adulthood.”

The girls have been moved into the YRTC facility for boys in Kearny, and will be secluded from them and will have separate programming times so that they do not interact with the young men.

This relocation ensures that the girls will receive the rehabilitation, care, and programming that they require, while in a safe and positive environment. The relocation will enable the Department of Administrative Services to evaluate the necessary repairs and upgrades to the buildings in the facility and refurbish them. Smith stressed that her biggest concern is ensuring that the facility will be a clean, healthy and safe environment for the girls.

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