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 DHS News September 2013     


DHS Wins Second Consecutive Digital Government Achievement Award

For the second year in a row, DHS has been selected for a Digital Government Achievement Award by the Center for Digital Government in Folsom, Calif., which recognizes efforts by government entities to improve decision making and program outcomes through the use of innovative technology.

Last year’s award recognized DHS’s use of technology to build an integrated service delivery model. This year, the Center selected the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative’s Information Technology Application, launched in April 2012 to improve the tracking and data collection necessary to determine the effectiveness of community re-entry programs for incarcerated men and women. The Application was cited in the government-to-government category, impressing judges with the Application’s productivity and performance innovation, functionality, collaboration, and usability by other, similar agencies.

The Application was developed by the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative, a joint effort of the Allegheny County Jail, Department of Human Services, Health Department and Court of Common Pleas, which brings together government, nonprofits, volunteers and other community members to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and increase success for inmates following incarceration.

“The Collaborative faced the challenge of linking service providers through an efficient business process and the need for real-time data collection and tracking of inmates who had completed their incarceration,” said Erin Dalton, Deputy Director of the DHS Office of Data Analysis and Research Evaluation (DARE).

Prior to development of the Information Technology Application, re-entry data was recorded in Excel spreadsheets, a cumbersome process that did not lend itself to decision-making support. By building upon existing DHS technology, primarily the Key Information and Data Support (KIDS) system, the Application allows real-time access to and easy updating of client information while reducing paperwork, facilitating performance management and reducing multiple reporting obligations.

Use of the Application, which was partly funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, has increased ex-offenders’ access to resources for family support, housing, treatment and employment.  And although more time and analysis is needed before cost savings can be quantified, it is anticipated that better access to services will result in better reentry outcomes and less recidivism.  Based on the estimate that every one percent reduction in recidivism saves the county $91,800, the potential cost savings realized through the implementation of the Application could be significant.

Allegheny County DHS Honored with a 2012 Digital Government Achievement Award
Allegheny County Press Release, August 24, 2012

Visit the Government Technology website for more about the Center for Digital Government.


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