Last April, the US Department of Justice released a report measuring recidivism patterns of prisoners in 30 US states in 2005.
The results are alarming.
Of the 404,638 state prisoners released in 2005, about two-thirds (67.8%) were arrested within three years, and about three quarters (76.6%) of former inmates were arrested within five years of release.
Research conducted by CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice as well as RTI International and Penn State University suggests that the lack of proper rehabilitation and re-entry programs largely contribute to high recidivism rates.
CUNY’s Deborah Koetzle explained that prisons tend to be coercive, violent environments which lead inmates to build barriers with society upon release. She explains that most correctional facilities lack needed psychological or substance abuse treatment programs, and it’s difficult for ex-convicts to land a job or housing. The current system throws people back out into a world of temptation with little support.
The Best Place for a Second Chance
Governor Pence of Indiana gets it. In an article published by the Associated Press, he said, “I want Indiana to be the worst place in America to commit a serious crime, but I want Indiana to be the best place in America once you’ve done your time to get a second chance,” (Associated Press).
The Indiana Department of Correction defines recidivism as a return to incarceration within three years of the offender’s date of release from a state correctional institution (IDOC 2013). Indiana’s recidivism rate among adults stood at 35.58% in 2013 and the rate for juveniles measured 24% in 2012.
When Governor Pence took office, he immediately discussed the need for enhanced technology to fight this and other issues. Employees of the state of Indiana needed to be able to understand agency performance and metrics on any device, at any time, in real-time. And although a seemingly large goal for a government to adopt, it wasn’t impossible. Private sector businesses were doing it; why couldn’t a state government?
Indiana Runs on SAP HANA
In an initiative to transform the government, the State of Indiana, in partnership with new SAP Solutions, created the Management and Performance Hub (MPH) purposed to harness data-driven insights to transform the way the state operated. With the MPH, Indiana is combating a high infant mortality rate and will also use new data-driven insights to help former inmates re-enter society as functioning and contributing members of the state.
In the past, the state used evidence-based programming to help improve the lives of the people in state care. Programs were created to help released prisoners turn their lives around, and although formed with good intention, some of these solutions were based on aggregate reports collected from disparate agencies, leaving space for inefficiency.
Now, with the MPH, which runs on SAP HANA and SAP Lumira, the State of Indiana is simplifying and optimizing how it gathers insights. By joining all of the disparate agencies together and harnessing the large amounts of complex information, Indiana can create personalized solutions for individuals based on risk assessments.
Now government officials can tackle problems in a completely new way. For example, the state can now determine the best non-profit reentry program for an individual based on specialized information regarding that specific individual’s likelihood of success.
Through information-driven solutions, Indiana can work to ensure correctional facilities focus on the rehabilitation of inmates. The state can set metrics on these programs and measure and correct performance. The state will have real-time information about those in its care and can appropriate programming and funding to generate outcomes most beneficial for released prisoners and, in turn, the state.
“These solutions really do have the promise of improving people’s lives through the resources that we have,” said Chris Atkins, CFO of the State of Indiana.
Watch this video for more on the interview with the State of Indiana and how it’s harnessing technology to improve Hoosiers’ lives:
Indiana is a state that truly cares about its people, and with the advancement of technology within government, the state is helping people in innovative ways that weren’t even imagined five years ago. The state is driving a cultural change, serving as an example to other states, and giving people a second chance to re-enter society with a fresh start and new outlook on life.
Congratulations to the State of Indiana for placing “runner-up” in the SAP HANA Innovation Awards.
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