Social-distancing protocols and stay-at-home orders have impacted the way the world functions. Internet services have seen rises in usage from 40% to 100% and video-conferencing services have seen a ten times increase in usage since the onset of COVID-19, demonstrating just how important it is for companies to stay at the forefront of new innovative technology.
What does this mean for community corrections? Not only has the pandemic prevented community supervision officers from meeting clients in person, but it has also increased caseloads as more individuals are being released on probation and parole. As cities, counties, and states continue to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic, BI Incorporated remains dedicated to providing agencies with quality smartphone monitoring technology and administrative support services to stay efficient and connected.
Smartphone Monitoring Apps
The issue paper released by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) technology committee, “Leveraging the Power of Smartphone Applications to Enhance Community Supervision,” addresses the positive impact that smartphone applications have on the community supervision process. “Leveraging the power inherent in today’s smartphones, these applications offer a highly flexible tool designed to support a wide variety of supervision objectives depending on the needs of the case. For example, accountability objectives can be achieved through features such as location monitoring, remote reporting, or check-ins. Behavioral change objectives can be facilitated through instant communications with the officer, providing the client with timely access to resources such as programming, and therapeutic counseling via tele-presence.”
Monitoring apps provide a secure platform for communication, anytime, anywhere, BI SmartLINK® has been recognized by criminal justice professionals as a reliable way to supervise and support individuals as they live and work in the community. Amidst COVID-19, SmartLINK has helped agencies interact with clients through secure messaging and two-way video conferencing features. More than 26,000 video conferences were completed by numerous agencies over approximately a six-week period. Along with enhanced communication, SmartLINK is able to streamline and digitize supervision paperwork typically submitted in person. Clients have the ability to upload documents and photos, review officer appointed schedules through a shared calendar, and submit required paperwork. As remote and digital case management services remain in high-demand, SmartLINK can be used in conjunction with electronic monitoring or as an alternative.
Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International and Old Dominion University conducted a study on probation and parole officers’ time expenditure and found that about 52% of an officer’s work hours were spent on administrative case-related tasks. With growing caseloads, centralized data and streamlined case management are vital to keeping communities safe and officers efficient. BI Agency Assist® support services can relieve officers of up to 50% of their clerical or data processing workload, allowing them to spend more time on higher-risk clients. The 24×7 call center increases agency coverage, and our bilingual support center team help reduce and manage the large amount of data officers receive.
Smartphone Monitoring Benefits:
- Saves officers time with fewer face-to-face meetings and phone calls
- Records confirmation of client activities and location compliance
- Provides reminders and tracks client acknowledgement of supervision tasks
- Confirms client attendance at mandated appointments
- Allows clients to submit documents electronically, reducing time spend on administrative work
Time-Saving Administrative Services:
- Contact documentation services offer paperless, convenient data entry
- Scheduling services track and verify client appointments, process change requests, and validate supporting documentation
- Enhanced monitoring services handle alerts, send real-time officer notifications, and troubleshoot equipment
- Client docs is a software module that manages important files and streamlines record-keeping
- Self-reporting services automate client check-ins using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology