Decisions, decisions. …Whether you’re an agency head trying to make sense of your budgets, or a warden or supervisor managing a jail or prison facility making the best use of your limited facilities, leaders in every area of justice are continuously trying to find new ways to do “more with less” even as the economy continues to recover.
But what if you’re simply out of ideas for making the most of your scarce resources? Then what?
- Data from disparate systems (local, regional, state, national) can be combined into a single snapshot view for analysis.
- Data analytics in the form of dashboards can display trends over time, which can easily be presented then used for resource, facility, and budget planning purposes.
- Reports generated on demand provide immediate access to data.
- Business intelligence supports better decision-making over time.
- Access from any device, anytime, anywhere can improve and speed up decision-making.
Justice Clearinghouse Editors (JCH): Julie, you’re a new presenter for the Justice Clearinghouse. Tell us about yourself.
Julie Ward: I’ve worked in the law enforcement, public safety, and corrections industry my entire 24-year career. I have always enjoyed working with the people within this industry and admire their dedication to protecting the communities they serve. I am proud of my role as an advisor. When I make their job easier by providing a modern, reliable technology solution, it keeps me motivated to continue learning all I can. As a member of industry organizations, thought leadership groups, and community advisory groups, I interact with industry leaders and vendors from other companies to help guide the future of technology for law enforcement, public safety, and corrections.
[A] modern system … turns raw data into intelligence
to help make data-driven decisions.
JCH: When people think of data analytics, it often sounds like an overwhelming — and sometimes dry – topic. When you talk about data analytics for improving facilities management, what kind of data are you referring to?
Julie: I agree that when you bring up the topic of data analytics it can seem overwhelming if you are considering analysis using information collected on paper by multiple officers, but I would not consider this a dry topic. On the contrary, when I talk to agencies about the opportunity to collect data electronically and then turn that data into intelligence, the conversation becomes very vibrant.
For example, data related to facilities management can be data about inmates and the incidents that occur in a facility. If we were to add an indicator that shows incidents spiking during certain officers’ shifts or when new inmates are introduced into a housing facility, then that is now considered information. Agencies can use that information to predict how inmates may behave in the future. That is intelligence. It’s this intelligence gained through the power of data analytics that allows agencies to predict behavior and handle future incidents accordingly.
Agencies can use that information
to predict how inmates may behave in the future.
That is intelligence.
JCH: How difficult is it to gain access to the data you’re referring to?
Julie: A paper tracking system will not provide easy access to data; a modern offender management system will. To extract true information and intelligence from that data, as I described, you’ll need a modern system that delivers dashboards, reports and predictive analytics. This turns raw data into intelligence to help make data-driven decisions. We will show how that looks in our upcoming webinar.
We work with agencies every day to show them
the ROI of investing in technology
and how improving their processes through technology
can actually save them countless man-hours.
JCH: I’m sure there are a lot of misconceptions about agency and facilities management. What are some of the most common myths or misconceptions justice professionals have?
Julie: Some of the most common misconceptions we encounter are related to standard operating procedures and cost. People may subconsciously or consciously believe, “This is the way we’ve always done it…so why change it now?” Also, they think “That’s going to cost a lot of money that we don’t have in the budget.”
Some agencies feel the cost does not outweigh the benefit to modernizing their agency and facility management processes. That belief system will hold them back. We work with agencies every day to show them the ROI of investing in technology and how improving their processes through technology can actually save them countless man-hours.