Texting keeps case workers in touch with ex-offenders
- By Derek Major
- Mar 29, 2016
With more than 30,000 formerly incarcerated individuals returning to Philadelphia from county, state and federal correctional facilities each year, caseworkers assigned to help reintegrate them into the community have their hands full. Staff in the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services (RISE) routinely work with more than 100 clients each as they help them with housing, jobs and education.
That workload created a significant challenge for caseworkers trying to communicate regularly and often with their clients. To address that, RISE teamed up with GovDelivery, a cloud-based solutions software company, to use its Interactive Texting platform.
RISE imported its clients’ cell phone numbers into GovDelivery’s platform, from which caseworkers can send reminders and updates to entire groups of program participants, as well as communicate one-on-one with individual clients. Additionally, the platform helps caseworkers keep better track of documentation for clients because it accepts photo messages of paystubs and verification materials.
“With text messaging being the most-used digital communication technology in existence, interactive texting provides an easy and cost-effective way to foster greater engagement with the public and drive improved outcomes,” GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns said.
Since the adoption of interactive text messaging, RISE has seen better client relationships, increased classroom attendance and better distribute their caseworkers’ time and effort.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.