CSOSA wins analytics award

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) in Washington has been awarded the Enterprise Intelligence Award for Government, an award given out each year by the analysis software company SAS.

The award was presented to the federal agency at the SAS Executive Conference for Government held earlier this week in Washington.

Chartered in 1997, CSOSA is a federal agency with a mission to help parolees avoid full re-incarceration while keeping communities they reside in safe. The district has about 15,000 men and women under supervision, usually in some form of parole, probation, supervised release or deferred sentence agreement.

The work the agency hopes to "bring about a shift in corrections, from incarceration to community-based corrections," said Paul Quander, director of the agency. He noted most states are looking for ways to cut the high cost of jailing criminals, and community-based corrections could provide an alternative for less-severe, nonviolent offenders.

"We're in the risk management business. We need to know what the risks are, and then we need to take a look at what the needs are," Quander said.

The agency was recognized for the analytics underlying its Supervision and Management Automated Record Tracking (SMART) case management system, which pulls data from court hearings, dispositions and sentences; nightly police booking reports; prison release schedules; disciplinary actions; drug testing and treatment participation; DNA; and other disparate data sources. It aggregates such information into a view that case-workers can use to track and gauge the progress individuals are making in reintegrating with the community. With this data, the case workers can develop better, more appropriate treatment plans.

"What we want to do is predict how successful these offenders will be, and we want to tailor our response to that," he said. The agency looks at which offenders should get the highest level of supervision, and which ones will need less attention.

It also helps help keep D.C. communities safe in cases where rehabilitation doesn't work. Some of the highest-risk individuals managed by the system wear location-tracking devices, the output of which is compiled by the system. In one case, the software showed a parolee who had previously sexually assaulted and kidnapped a teenaged girl hanging out near a public school.

"We would have never known but for the fact that we were able to track, look at the data, bring the individual [in] and confront him with this," Quander said. "It makes it much easier when we go before the parole committee and say this individual needs to go because there is a clear and present danger."

"The Enterprise Intelligence award is given annually to organizations that demonstrated'how they've been able to effect impactful, positive change" with the use of SAS, said Tom Mazich, vice president of U.S. government operations at SAS. "What [CSOSA is] really doing is making a difference in people's lives."

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.


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