Arkansas – DCC
Since the advent of the pandemic and required social distancing, the Arkansas DCC is reinventing itself and changing from a purely brick-and-mortar/face-to-face supervision model to a virtual model referred to as Virtual Supervision.
The Marquis’ InTouch mobile application has changed the way we are managing our caseloads during the COVID-19 pandemic.Jerry Bradshaw, Director
Arkansas Division of Community Corrections
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for all components of our society, not the least for first responders, law enforcement and corrections personnel. For the Probation and Parole Officers of the Arkansas Division of Community Correction (DCC), COVID-19 requirements of social distancing presented a particular challenge as it forced the closing of all community corrections’ offices throughout the State of Arkansas.
The Arkansas DCC
The Division of Community Correction (DCC), a division of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, consists of sixty-seven Probation & Parole Offices where approximately 400 Probation and Parole Officers (PPOs) manage over 65,000 clients. The DCC has been using the eOMIS® Community Supervision application to supervise their clients for nearly 20-years.
In a ten-day period, the COVID-19 virus caused a significant disruption to the Arkansas DCC’s brick-and-mortar working model. The Division was faced with the following realities:
- Parole and Probation (P&P) Offices began replacing office visits with phone interviews
- Information flow between P&P Offices and their clients was disrupted
- Information flow between PPOs and their clients was disrupted
- Scheduled face-to-face contact between PPOs and their clients was disrupted
- With limited office access, it became more difficult for PPOs to access the computers that connect them to data required to manage their caseload
- P&P clients experienced reduced access to important and required treatment programs
The immediate goal was to fundamentally change the way the DCC provided supervision. Putting into practice social distancing, eliminating unnecessary face-to-face meetings, while providing the same quality of supervision and case management.
Over the past three years, the DCC has implemented four of Marquis Software’s InTouch Mobile Applications. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the Arkansas DCC is further leveraging their existing mobile applications to continue supervising their clients using Virtual Supervision.
Since the pandemic requires social distancing, the Arkansas DCC is reinventing itself and changing from a purely brick-and-mortar/face-to-face supervision model to a virtual model referred to as Virtual Supervision. To enable this transition, the Arkansas DCC is relying more on the four applications that are part of their eOMIS® mobility extension, called the InTouch Mobile Suite:
- InTouch PPO Portal
- InTouch Client Portal
- InTouch Texting Portal
- InTouch Treatment Portal
These four mobile applications are helping the Arkansas DCC do their important work in the new reality of reduced office access, office closures, and social distancing.
InTouch PPO Portal
The Arkansas DCC’s PPOs have been using the InTouch PPO Portal for over two years. The encrypted database in this smartphone application contains all of the client data for the officer’s caseload. Since the pandemic has limited access to offices and restricted officers from using their office computers to access client supervision data, the InTouch PPO Portal has been become an even more valuable connection to the client information stored in the eOMIS®. PPOs can sync their caseload or the caseload of any officer in their office from any location where they have internet connectivity. PPOs continue to work their caseloads, entering/retrieving data into/from their smartphones and syncing the data into the eOMIS®.
InTouch Client Portal
Since P&P Officers can’t meet face-to-face with most of their clients, the InTouch Client Portal mobile application has become an effective way to gather interview information from the DCC P&P clients. The Arkansas DCC implemented the InTouch Client Portal in the fourth quarter of 2019. It allows clients to:
- Perform remote check-ins that replace or augment office-visit interviews
- Pay financial obligations on-line
- View information relating to their supervision
- Connect to treatment programs remotely
Before the pandemic, the InTouch Client Portal was installed on a client’s phone by their PPO during an office visit. Since office visits and direct contact between PPOs and clients is now limited, the current process was enhanced to allow remote, automated installation. To meet the need to transition to Virtual Supervision, the InTouch Client Portal application and its deployment are being rapidly modified to rollout across the entire client population without the PPO’s involvement. The remote check-in feature was previously used to augment, but not replace the office visits. As the pandemic renders face-to-face visits difficult or impossible, the Arkansas DCC is being forced to rely on this new mobile technology for expanded check-ins.
InTouch Texting Portal
Implemented in 2018, the InTouch Texting Portal started as a way to remind clients of appointments, court dates, fee payments, and positive reinforcement messages. However, as the pandemic is causing the world to change every day, the InTouch Texting Portal has proven to be an invaluable communication tool to keep information flowing to clients. Texts are now sent to clients with instructions on: what to do if they are ill, which P&P offices are closed, how to contact their officer to check-in, etc.
These text messages are keeping thousands of the Arkansas DCC’s clients informed of daily policy changes that affect their supervision.
InTouch Treatment Portal
Many clients battle drug addictions, and their conditions of supervision require them to enroll in drug treatment programs. Because of the rural nature of Arkansas, many DCC P&P clients have to travel long distances to participate in individual or group drug addiction counseling sessions. The InTouch Treatment Portal allows clients to participate in counseling sessions remotely via this mobile application. The client can view their scheduled counseling sessions and join a session remotely, through a streaming video and audio connection. The counsellor can send eOMIS® forms to the client’s mobile device, where the client can read, electronically sign, and submit the forms back to the counsellor, where it is then stored in eOMIS® . The InTouch Treatment Portal was implemented to assist rural clients. As face-to-face contact becomes more limited, the importance of the InTouch Treatment Portal is increasing. Additional treatment capabilities are being added to the InTouch Client Portal and are scheduled roll out to all clients in the summer of 2020.