I am a police officer in one of the most dangerous and crowded cities in the country. The gang presence in our city has escalated in recent years, and this has been the focus of my efforts in the last few years. The gangs are getting more daring and violent, and many times their activities are affecting the lives of innocent people who just want to live a peaceful live in their community.
To try and control the violence, we have to go after the high-ranking gang members who seem to be protected by the soldiers. Even the top gang members that are in jail still are able to rule the streets from the phones. In the past, we would use the inmate call system to try and monitor and take action, but these gang members have their own language and codes that were making it challenging to get ahead of the violence.
Things took a huge change for the better for our residents when the jail installed a new inmate call system by Securus Technologies. Me and my fellow officers were trained to use the LBS software and decided to spend a day monitoring calls to see if we could put a dent in the illegal activities these gangs were involved with each day throughout the city. It wasn’t long before the Securus Technologies system alerted us to chatter between a top gang member in jail and one of his associates on the street.
We discovered that the gangs were helpless and disorganized without daily updates from the top members in jail. We decided rather than stop the calls, we would simply arrive to the locations were drug deals, weapons deals, and other activities were scheduled to take place, and arrest the parties instead. Each time orders were given, we were able to stop the order and frustrate the gangs.
Securus, one of the largest providers of civil and criminal justice technology in America has added a new service via ConnectUs. This technology processes inmate forms and grievances. Prior to implementing ConnectUs, corrections personnel were required to use 65% more time in the pursuit of their duties. Now with the use of ConnectUs the process has been automated and the effort spent to expedite that paper is no longer necessary.
ConnectUs provides online forms for inmates to sign up for various things, complete medical information and handbook acceptance forms as well as file grievances. Now that these forms are completed electronically, the additional work needed to process the paperwork is no longer necessary. Corrections officers were responsible for distributing the forms before the creation of ConnectUs. They also had to collect, log, route, respond to, copy, file, archive and store those forms. All of which took up valuable time, sometimes in the form of overtime. Each expenditure of time cost the public money.
As many as 13.8 different types of forms are processed each month. Now that they are done electronically, the process is much faster. This now includes the inmate’s response to follow-ups and the final decisions which are also communicated via electronic transmission. The inmate can log on to the system to find out the final decision on any request that was made. Officers can also communicate electronically with inmates when additional information is needed.
Because ConnectUs allows inmate and corrections officers to communicate via notes to one another as follow-up for the completion of a request. It provides an essential communication service for the prison. It was a long time in coming, but now that it is here, the public should applaud its creation and insist that it be allowed to continue and that it be improved to meet all the needs of the corrections population.