IDOC “Offender 360”

Posted: April 3, 2011 by smallmouth63 in IDOC, IL in Fiscal Ruins

The Hard Sell

The nation’s 2 million inmates and their keepers are the ultimate captive market: a $37 billion economy bulging with business opportunity.

Selling to State Corrections is big business now, as the 2007 article above illustrates. The State of Illinois, Department of Corrections (IDOC)  is modernizing it’s antiquated database computer systems which are spread across 28 IDOC facilities, and encompass 41 different systems which are devoted to tracking the progress of it’s approximate 48,000 inmates through it’s system. IDOC recently purchased Microsoft’s new product for Corrections software with a catchy name: Offender 360 (Kind of like Xbox 360) and is in the process of installing it throughout all of it’s facilities.

Technology is all about mobility this Spring. Mobile devices, handheld screens, tablets, and apps to populate them are fueling a mini-tech boom. But IDOC is bucking the trend. It is kind of ironic that Microsoft, widely used among consumers,  is a company whose street software is well-known for being prone to error, viruses, worms, trojans, spam and bloat. It seems counter-intuitive that IL, with it’s budget crisis would rely upon Microsoft for security. Microsoft has no mobile strategy; no apps store, no hone or tablet gameplan. It is playing catch-up to more agile competitors.

It remains to be seen with Microsoft’s software is up to the task of coordinating the multitude of databases regarding the disciplinary, educational and vocational program participation of offenders; covering the scope of substance abuse, rehabilitation, job performance, internal operations, and all the necessary programs to evaluate offenders for early release, MGT, work release, home monitoring and parole without having mobile components.

When computer errors and mistakes nearly cost current Governor Pat Quinn and election, you would think the State would select the best for this crucial responsibility. Prisoners are constantly tracked. They move from facility to facility, from chow hall to classroom, from workplace to the real world. IDOC needs to keep track of their every whereabouts, and this requires a trusted system. Let’s pray that IDOC has made the right buy…

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