BACKGROUND: The Public Safety Coordinating Council of Multnomah County, Oregon, consists of the heads of county agencies contributing time and energy to the development and success of the DSS Justice project. There are 32 agencies involved including the police, sheriff, district attorneys, public defenders, health department and the mayor's office.
PLATFORMS: The back end of DSS Justice is an Oracle database on Windows NT and a Compaq server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: It is Multnomah County's goal to increase public safety by reducing the number of repeat offenders in the justice system. To do this, county agencies have implemented a decision support system designed to enable those agencies to easily share information and evaluate the results of programs and sentencing to help achieve this goal. Before DSS Justice, a county project requiring data from all nine databases could take a month of data gathering and research. Now all pertinent data can be gathered in one day. This, in turn, aids judges and other authorized decision-makers in making more informed decisions. Before using Viador, judges in Multnomah County might hand down a sentence without any background on availability of enrollment space or success rates of various rehabilitation programs. Now, with easy access to historical information, Multnomah County makes better decisions regarding the offenders' situations because it knows which rehabilitation tactics have worked in the past and which have not.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Viador is used to enable integrated data access from all county agencies on a unified platform. Initially, Multnomah County is using Viador in three main areas:
- Support for judges and parole officers. With the click of a button, judges are able to access information such as available enrollment space in different correctional programs or success rates of various sentencing options directly from the courtroom. Also, parole and probation officers can monitor the progress of offenders and measure the benefits of particular programs.
- Government research and evaluation projects. With DSS Justice, data and reports from nine separate databases can be accessed from one location and via a single portal.
- Detailed operational reports on offenders/cases. DSS Justice not only links the nine Multnomah County databases, but it consolidates the information on individual offenders, making it much easier to access a person's historical information.
STRENGTHS: The Viador E-Portal Suite boasts numerous strengths that led Multnomah County to select Viador for the DSS Justice project. These strengths include:
- Security Information stored in DSS Justice is highly sensitive.
- Scalability & #173; Ability to grow to infinite numbers of users.
- Ease of use & #173; Intuitive, browser-based user interface.
- Platform neutrality & #173; Ability to link nine separate databases on different operating systems.
WEAKNESSES: Initially, Multnomah could not get Java applets delivered through the firewall to outside users. The problem was corrected when Multnomah began using Viador Sentinel and new http tunneling.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Multnomah County selected Viador based on several criteria:
- Cost This was the highest priority.
- Functionality Particular to tools such as pivoting and drill down.
- Web-based To meet the needs of a heterogeneous computing environment.
- Ease of use A point-and-click, intuitive feel.
Viador's advantage became apparent in the demonstration of the E-Portal Suite capabilities and in the pricing.
DELIVERABLES: The Viador E-Portal makes it possible for authorized judges, parole/probation officers and other decision-makers of Multnomah County to access DSS Justice and do research based on the information in nine disparate systems. In turn, they are able to deliver better and more informed decisions regarding the offenders' situations with knowledge of which rehabilitation tactics have worked in the past and which have been less successful, thereby increasing public safety.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Viador's professional services made the installation of DSS Justice a painless process and worked hard to get the project up and running by the target date. Follow-up technical support has also been strong.
DOCUMENTATION: Thorough on-line documentation is available for all end users. In addition, hard-copy documentation is available for the administrative and designer modules of the product.
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