Wisconsin prisoners tracked by .Net

Wisconsin prisoners tracked by .Net

Corrections officials in Wisconsin counties are saving money and aggravation with software developed using Microsoft .Net to monitor prisoner transfers between courts, jails and other correctional facilities.

About 18 months ago, the sheriff of Douglas County, Wis., told Phil Brandsey, CEO of Emerald Systems Inc. of Spooner, Wis., about his troubles scheduling prisoner transfers. The sheriff would go to a state facility to pick up a prisoner and find that the neighboring county also had prisoners that needed to be transferred to the same place, duplicating law enforcement effort and travel costs.

Nobody knew about the similar transfers in advance. It was irritating, time-consuming and expensive, requiring a lot of telephone calls and faxes, Douglas County sheriff Tom Dalbec said.

Brandsey suggested they work together to develop a beta server-based program for tracking transfers. Within 60 days, 54 county sheriffs had agreed to test the prisoner exchange and transport scheduling, or PETS, application and give feedback.

PETS took about a year and a half to develop with Microsoft Visual Studio.Net and C# .Net. It went live in December 2003, using a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database management system.

'When the need is there, you see how quickly people can come together,' Brandsey said.

Corrections officials in all 72 of Wisconsin's counties can now access PETS. The state performs more than 30,000 transfers a year, and the projected annual savings is about $3 million.

The PETS application has a space for comments, so persons who physically transfer a prisoner know in advance if there is a history of violence or communicable disease.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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