Illinois Department of Corrections moves criminal records from aging mainframe environment to Microsoft Dynamics CRM cloud-based system.

Patience Wait, Contributor

February 14, 2013

2 Min Read

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The Illinois Department of Corrections is giving new meaning to "customer relationship management." The agency, which operates 26 correctional centers, is using Microsoft's cloud-based Dynamics CRM Online software to manage not customers, but criminals.

The department is using Dynamics CRM -- used for sales and marketing by organizations such as Hallmark Business Connections and the California Strawberry Commission -- as a criminal-justice tracking system for 49,000 prison inmates and 28,000 parolees.

The newly implemented system, called Offender-360, replaces a 1980's era mainframe and 41 "offender management" applications. The department uses those systems to track the behavior of inmates, as well as vocational and educational programs, said Gladyse Taylor, assistant director of the DOC.

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The cloud-based CRM system is about 40% deployed. Within the next 30 days, capabilities for disciplinary tracking and managing sentence credits will be added, Taylor said. Other business operations still to be transferred to the new system include sentence calculation, risk assessment, medical records and commissary operations.

The state purchased licenses for the use of the CRM platform, and made use of Microsoft premier support agreements held by other state departments to train some Corrections staff to customize the applications.

The department is been training 300 to 400 employees each week on how to use the Offender-360 system. About 5,500 of the department's 10,500 employees will be using the system by this summer, Taylor said.

While the transition is underway, the mainframe system continues to be the official system of record. "When we have migrated all the records [and] integrated the remaining applications into Offender-360, the mainframe system will be shut down," Taylor said.

The new system is expected to save money and help identify ways to improve outcomes for offenders. "Our ultimate goal is to reduce the recidivism rate," Taylor said.

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About the Author(s)

Patience Wait


Washington-based Patience Wait contributes articles about government IT to InformationWeek.

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