By Lisa Thompson, Project Manager and Mary DePrez, Executive Director | Indiana Office of Court Technology
Deploying the Supervised Release System
One of the largest undertakings of the Indiana Supreme Court is to implement a single case management system for use in every court in the state. Odyssey is replacing more than 23 different court case management systems. These systems did not share uniform standards, used outdated technology, and did not allow the 92 counties to share information across county lines.
With the implementation of Odyssey nearly complete, there is now a single database, and judges can view cases from every other Odyssey court. Policymakers can obtain uniform data from the Odyssey courts. Additionally, the Supreme Court offers free access to public cases in Odyssey through mycase.in.gov.
With the success of the system apparent, one county determined a need to replicate uniform standards for a suitable case management system for the adult probation department, drug court program, and community corrections. After reviewing multiple third-party options, Marion County representatives and Court Technology concluded that none of the existing systems fully met the needs of these agencies. None of the existing products were tailored to community supervision best-practices emphasized by the State of Indiana. A decision was made for Court Technology to develop a new, custom-built, community supervision case management system that could be used in every county.
Court Technology staff began meeting bi-weekly with Marion County probation, drug court, and community correction experts to determine must-have and nice-to-have requirements. After nearly two years of design work, development, and testing, the Supervised Release System was deployed in Marion County in December 2016.
Word quickly spread of the benefits that this new case management offered to agencies dependent on and responsible for community supervision.
During the same time period that SRS was being developed, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation creating the Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council, consisting of leadership from all three branches (Public Law 179-2015). The Council is charged with conducting state-level reviews of local corrections programs, county jails, probation services, and the processes used by the Department of Correction and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction in awarding grants.
Among other responsibilities, DOC oversees the county-based community corrections agencies across the state by providing funding to supervise offenders who have otherwise been diverted from the Department of Correction. Additionally, DOC, working on behalf of JRAC, distributes approximately $25 million dollars in grant funds each year to community supervision agencies. These agencies are responsible for implementing programs and utilizing resources in response to Indiana’s 2014 criminal code reform and legislative changes that require more low-level felony offenders to serve their sentences at the county-level, rather than at DOC.
Historically, the DOC has faced unending challenges with the data it received from the various community corrections agencies, as the funded agencies were using a variety of different local case management systems. Seeing the potential in the Supervised Release System to standardize case management and data collection efforts across the state, and building on the work undertaken by JRAC, the Department partnered with Court Technology in 2018 to deploy SRS to the 77 community corrections agencies in the state. These 77 agencies provide community corrections services to 90 Indiana counties.
Under the leadership of Court Technology Project Manager Lisa Thompson, a deployment coordinator and seven SRS implementation specialists were hired and trained. Deployment of SRS to community corrections agencies began immediately. All community corrections agencies use a single, connected case management system. But this is only part of the success story.
In addition to community corrections, SRS was developed to meet the needs of a variety of community supervision agencies, including probation, problem-solving court programs, court alcohol and drug programs, and pretrial supervision. These agencies all work together to serve the same individuals, and SRS gives them the ability to share information to provide the best array of services based on the collaboration of agencies.
The vision for Indiana is to have all community supervision agencies using SRS. Work is already underway. In addition to all community corrections agencies, there are 191 other entities using SRS. Court Technology will continue to deploy SRS to probation departments, problem-solving court programs, and court alcohol and drug programs throughout the state with an anticipated completion date at the end of 2023.
Other benefits of SRS
SRS is a web-based application that lives in the INcite framework. INcite is the Indiana Supreme Court’s extranet that houses a variety of applications and connects to other technology initiatives. SRS is the only supervision application that interfaces with Odyssey to extract and display warrant information, court hearings, chronological case summaries (court dockets), and court documents housed in Odyssey.
SRS directly connects to other statewide initiatives that are housed within INcite. These initiatives include: Risk Assessments, Abstracts of Judgment, Case Plans, Presentence Investigation Reports, and Juvenile Reports (preliminary inquiries, predispositional reports, and modification reports). Community supervision agencies rely on these INcite applications in their day-to-day operations.
Finally, SRS collects data for probation and community corrections quarterly reporting, annual reports for home detention statistics, problem-solving court performance measures, court alcohol and drug program data, and the pretrial release initiative guided by Criminal Rule 26.
For DOC, SRS tracks the reporting requirements necessary for funding received under the HEA 1006/JRAC grant process provided by the Indiana Department of Correction.
With the development and implementation of SRS, Indiana has taken a giant step in providing JRAC and other policymakers the critical data they need for evaluating the work of Indiana’s community supervision agencies.
By the end of 2021, all the trial courts will be using a single case management system as well. With courts using Odyssey and SRS becoming the statewide system for community supervision agencies (by 2023), Indiana will be well on its way to having a single, integrated criminal justice information system. While a few other key stakeholders may still be missing from this integration, a platform now exists for Court Technology to continue building and expanding functionality to incorporate all aspects of the criminal and juvenile justice system.