The coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic has impacted the criminal justice world in many unprecedented ways, affecting local, state and federal community supervision, in-custody facilities, treatment providers, and more. This unique and challenging situation is forcing us all to adapt, and community corrections officers are tasked with ensuring that all client or offender supervision requirements are still met and progress is made. A tough ask, right?
In 2017, BI Incorporated (BI) released a client-focused smartphone application named BI SmartLINK®, which serves as both a low-risk supervision application and a communication tool that keeps officers or case managers connected with their clients. This application is installed on a participant’s personal device, and offers the following agency features and client support and engagement tools:
- Secure, in-app messaging and two-way video conferencing
- Confirm client location using the optional biometric verification
- Manage client appointments and meeting reminders through the interactive calendar
- Approve and manage client schedule changes and requests
- Upload and view case documents and paperwork
- View and access local community resources
Prior to COVID-19, BI SmartLINK was utilized by clients across local, state, and federal agencies, but enrollments have increased significantly. The pandemic has prevented community supervision officers and case managers from meeting with their clients in person. However, BI has helped agencies continue interacting with clients through the secure, two-way SmartLINK video conferencing feature. More than 26,000 video conferences were successfully completed by numerous agencies over approximately six weeks.
SmartLINK continues to be recognized by criminal justice professionals as a reliable way to manage, support, and empower low-risk individuals. This application encourages and facilitates a meaningful connection with case managers and participants in a modern, discreet fashion. All data collected by the application is only used by case managers or agency officials to ensure participant compliance in the program. As we all continue to navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, officers, case managers, and clients now have an effective, modern tool to keep them engaged and connected.