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Introduction: Making the decision to replace an Offender Management System

If you are familiar with an offender management system, you are aware of the sheer scope of processes this technology is used to manage. At its core, an offender management system is meant to track an entire offender’s journey--from intake and classification through their probation or parole--and all the various time served or institution transfers in between. It is much more than a name on a file. There are also offender histories, financial records, case management documentation, and sentence calculation modules that factor into every inmate’s specific classification. Add to that the need for an offender management system to operate according to each state’s different laws and regulations for overseeing inmates, and you will find a complex set of requirements that is ever-changing with each new law or guideline brought into effect.

For years now, as they’ve remained overlooked and underfunded, Corrections agencies have been patching and adapting old technology that was originally implemented in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s. We refer to these systems as “legacy systems”-- systems that are incredibly outdated, yet that have no choice but to maintain in order to support the vital functionalities within the Corrections industry. While these systems may still technically meet the minimum requirements they were designed for, it is not unlike asking an employee to boot up the old computer he found covered in dust in the corner of a storeroom-- the technology is not just out of date, it may be so out of date that more than being unhelpful, it acts as a hindrance to doing their job efficiently.

Demands have continued to grow in recent years for Corrections to improve security, offer better programming and treatment for offenders, and better report information. While the corrections industry was often provided the financial resources needed for the additional programming and education for offenders, the systems that oversee these processes--the core Offender Management System-- was not afforded the luxury of a budget for new technology.

We have not asked those in education to make do with decades old technologies, especially during recent months, nor can we as individuals imagine operating on the same technologies we were using in the ‘80s or ‘90s, so why would we hold the corrections industry--one of the toughest but most important industries within our community-- to such standards?

We at Mi-Case see the improvement of technology within the corrections industry as an investment in any community’s greater good. We are producing this series to familiarize communities and industry professionals alike on the unlimited potential these modern systems may offer, especially in their ability to evolve and grow with technology as it continues to advance.

The potential modern technology offers the corrections industry is at the heart of why Mi-Case started-- we understand that each offender’s journey does indeed break down to the life and well being of a single person--and we are dedicated to the mission of how modern OMS technology can create more positive outcomes for these individuals and those who facilitate their journey, worldwide.

As we seek to both educate and learn together through this series, we invite you to share your feedback, comments, and shared experiences.

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Part II: Thinking Beyond Your RFP

Why selecting the right ongoing partner is the one decision you can’t afford to make twice.

Part I: Decoding the RFP Response

Let’s look at what a good RFP response should include, and what questions might help get you to the best choice for your agency