By OPEC Staff

Two innovative program applications created by CDCR’s Enterprise Information Services (EIS) have been honored by the 2013 Best of California contest for government agencies’ IT operations.

The Strategic Offender Management Systems (SOMS) won in the category of Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs.

The Visitor Processing Appointment Schedule System (VPASS) won in the category of Best Application Serving the Public.

Joe Panora, Director of Enterprise Information Services said, “We are very proud of these products and the teams that built them.  The solutions provide benefits to all Californians through efficiency and effectiveness, both within the CDCR facilities and with the families of CDCR’s inmate population.”

According to the awards’ sponsor, e.Republic, the Best of California awards program recognizes public sector professionals and local government organizations for their dedication and contributions to IT in California. Winners are selected by a panel of judges based on a number of criteria, including collaboration among agencies, innovative use of technology, economic benefits and bettering services and business processes.

SOMS is an integrated electronic offender management information system.  The system is comprised of three primary components: (1) an integrated central offender database, (2) a web-based offender management application – Electronic Offender Management Information System (eOMIS), and (3) a comprehensive document management system – Electronic Records Management System (ERMS).

The ERMS effort scans inmate central files (C-files) to a centralized digital repository.  This allows authorized staff to directly access the information from any location in the state without the need to go to a case records office or to have the file transported to another location.

ERMS was deployed to women’s institutions in June of 2010 and all paper C-files have been eliminated.  ERMS implementation began in the men’s institutions in February 2013.  All new documentation is being scanned on a real-time basis and 30 percent of the men’s historic files have been scanned.  ERMS currently supports over 30,000 users that are accessing inmate’s C-Files on a real time basis.

The eOMIS effort automates many of the manual and paper-based processes within the institution and replaces many existing databases and paper records.  This allows authorized staff real-time access to offender information which greatly improves both efficiency and safety within the institutions.

The first modules of functionality of the Offender Management Information System (eOMIS) were deployed in March of 2011 with subsequent deployments of additional functional modules in October 2011, April 2012, February 2013, and August 2013.

The eOMIS application currently supports more than 51,000 users and is processing an average of 84,800 visitors, 116,500 external movements, 27,000 reception center intakes, 99,400 bed assignments and 1,255 master count transactions on a monthly basis.

The SOMS solution is used at all 34 adult institutions and numerous headquarters and remotes sites.  SOMS is the primary tool used to manage CDCR’s 133,000 inmates.

Russ Nichols, SOMS Project Director, credits “outstanding executive support and a strong cohesive team of CDCR Program staff, CDCR IT staff, subcontractors and system integration staff” as the reason for the success of SOMS.”

The SOMS leaders are Russ Nichols, SOMS Project Director; Wayne Babby, SOMS Technical Project Manager; and Scott Davidson, SOMS Program Management Office.

The Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) sponsored VPASS, and worked with EIS to implement it across the state.  EIS Director Panora noted the following in the services offered to Californians:

“Using internet technology, VPASS provides 24/7 expanded public access to visiting services and development was done at minimal cost to the state using existing staff.”

VPASS is the first bilingual public-facing Internet system in the United States for inmate families and friends to make online appointments to visit inmates. VPASS was deployed statewide on May 6, 2013 after a pilot deployment which began in October of 2012.

DAI Associate Director Jay Virbel praised the partnership during the implementation, as well as the benefits of the system.

“VPASS has been a collaborative effort between Division of Adult Institutions and Enterprise Information Services to best serve the California Public,” he said. “VPASS has assisted in reducing wait times and lines, and allows visitors to arrive just before their scheduled appointment time.”

VPASS is available 24/7 allowing visitors to reserve inmate visiting time, and eliminating the need to arrive early at the institution to be processed on a first come first serve walk-in basis. Folsom State Prison served as the proof of concept for VPASS.

Upon hearing the news of this award for CDCR, Warden Rick Hill commented on the continuing value VPASS provides for his facility,

“The development of the VPASS helped to eliminate visiting issues that had existed for years at Folsom State Prison,” Warden Hill said. “Rather than waiting in long lines for much of the night in hopes of being ensured timely processing into the visiting room, visitors now arrive at their designated time to a relaxed visiting experience knowing their place in the processing line is guaranteed.”

Institution visiting staff manages and monitor the reservations through a web-based application accessible from any department networked workstation.

CDCR projected an average of 2,000 visitors each month setting appointments through VPASS. Since implementation that number was exceeded by an average of 2,400 visitors setting appointments monthly.

Currently, 41,141 visitors have created accounts in VPASS, and have set more than 270,000 appointments across all institutions. Every day there is an average of 3,000 searches on VPASS for appointment times.

The VPASS leaders are Davood Ghods, Deputy Director of EIS; Sandra Chamberlin, Chief, Applications Maintenance and Support; and Bill Buffington and Sirisha Gullapalli,  Enterprise Web & Collaborations Solutions.

EIS will be honored during the annual GTC West convention Aug. 20-21 in Sacramento.

The Website for e.Republic states that the company is “the nation’s leading publishing, research, event, and new media company focused on the state and local government and education markets.”