Automated Kiosks Can help Community Supervision Agencies Manage High caseloads of Low-risk Clients

Automated kiosks can provide cost-efficient, effective support in managing low-risk offenders.

January 26, 2017

Automated kiosk reporting systems have gained popularity in recent years as community supervision agencies strive to provide quality supervision services at reduced costs.

This is an especially critical need considering 1 in 51 adults in the United States[1] are under community supervision, according to a recent study.

To successfully implement an automated kiosk reporting system, researchers identified two critical factors: the alignment of kiosk reporting requirements with client risk level, location, and hours of kiosk operation, and the integration of kiosk reporting data with an agency’s case management system.

In response, the National Institute of Justice funded research to investigate whether automated kiosks could effectively support the work of community supervision officials in managing low-risk clients.

The results were encouraging.

A team of researchers from Westat found that automated kiosk reporting can in fact help community supervision agencies manage high caseloads of low-risk clients more efficiently and without adverse public safety consequences. In turn, agencies can then redirect resources to supervising higher-risk clients with greater needs.

This study was designed to expand and strengthen the evidence base on kiosk reporting used to supervise probationers and parolees. It collected and analyzed information on the prevalence of kiosk reporting, the experiences of those who have already used this approach, and the outcomes and costs associated with its use.

In comparing kiosk services to officer supervision, researchers sought to answer the question “Do kiosk reporting and traditional face-to-face reporting achieve comparable public safety outcomes?” The study also compared kiosk reporting to telephone reporting with interactive voice response.

Researchers used administrative data —intake, violation, and discharge records — from agencies and compared kiosk reporting outcomes to conventional probation.  To evaluate the effectiveness of kiosk reporting compared to telephone reporting researchers worked with agencies to randomly assign probationers to either kiosk or telephone reporting. 

Analysis showed that there was little to no difference in important outcomes for those on probation, including probation violations, rearrests, and successful probation completion for low-risk offenders.

Additionally, preliminary cost data from the study indicate kiosk reporting can be substantially less costly than traditional officer reporting. Costs of telephone reporting with interactive voice response are even lower than kiosk reporting.

To successfully implement an automated kiosk reporting system, researchers identified two critical factors: the alignment of kiosk reporting requirements with client risk level, location, and hours of kiosk operation, and the integration of kiosk reporting data with an agency’s case management system.

The Multi-jurisdiction Kiosk Study increases the understanding on a number of aspects of automated kiosk reporting. This includes the prevalence of kiosk supervision, the factors associated with successful kiosk adoption and implementation, the challenges faced and lessons learned from agencies currently operating kiosks, and how kiosk costs, staffing, operations, data, performance, satisfaction, and outcomes vary across jurisdictions.

Practical Advice – Download the Guidebook

Kiosk Supervision: A Guidebook for Community Corrections Professionsals

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A practical framework for community supervision agencies to assess whether kiosk reporting may be a safe and cost-effective alternative.

This study also enhances the evidence base on the effectiveness and efficiency of one potential solution to the problem of an ever increasing population under community supervision, where large caseloads, increased workloads, and limited financial resources are becoming the norm.

According to the researchers, the findings from this study suggest kiosk reporting can help community supervision agencies to manage high caseloads of low-risk clients more efficiently and without adverse public safety consequences, and to redirect scarce resources to supervising higher-risk clients with greater needs.

Based on the data, the guidebook developed by researchers recommends that agencies interested in kiosk reporting consider the experience of other agencies with kiosk reporting, decide on several features of the system, and estimate the start-up and ongoing costs of those features.

About this Article

The research described in this article was supported by NIJ grant number 2011-IJ-CX-0010, awarded to Westat, Inc.

This article is based on the grant report Multi-jurisdiction Research on Automated Reporting Systems: Kiosk Supervision (pdf, 15 pages).

Cite this Article

National Institute of Justice, “Automated Kiosks Prove to be an Effective Strategy in Supporting Community Supervision Officers,” January 26, 2017, from NIJ.gov: https://nij.gov/topics/corrections/community/Pages/auotated-kiosks-can-help-manage-caseloads-of-low-risk-clients.aspx

Notes

[1] Erinn J. Herberman, Ph.D., Thomas P. Bonczar, Probation And Parole In The United States, 2013, Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2014, NCJ 248029.

Date Created: January 26, 2017