Aug 11, 2010

Parolestat Comes to Harlem

Last week the Harlem Community Justice Center hosted the monthly Parolestat meeting. Parolestat is the New York State Division of Parole’s version of Compstat (a.k.a Comstat), the now famous NYPD data driven management accountability strategy credited with helping to drive down crime in New York City.

In New York State Parole is organized by regions; within regions bureaus are the next organizational levels. Each bureau is headed by a bureau chief that supervises senior parole officers who in turn supervises Parole Officers in the field. Last week’s Parolestat meeting focused on the Metro 1 Region covering the Bronx and Manhattan. The meeting also examined the work of Facility Operations; Parole staff in correctional facilities that process inmate transfers, pre-pare inmates for release and schedule appearances before the Parole Board.

On the hot seat were Michael Falk, Regional Director for Metro One, and his team, including Deputy Regional Director William Ponder. Executive Director Mark Manthei and Director for Planning and Analysis Michael Buckman provided the heat. The audience included other senior parole officers, bureau chiefs and some Justice Center staff. Normally these meetings only involve the Region’s senior managers and one or two bureau chiefs presenting on individual cases. In this case the executive team wanted bureau chiefs in the Region to observe the meeting and get a sense of what is being tracked and why it matters.

The Parolestat data covered a range of areas providing a clear sense of the challenges faced by Parole. Categories covered included: parole violation processing benchmarks, including time to hearings and reasons for adjournments; the number of technical violations and outstanding warrants; the number of case conferences held; failures to report, a serious violation of Parole that requires a responses within 48 hours; and the number of parolees being released to shelters. Region leadership was grilled on their outcomes, how they responded to identified problems, and what corrective actions they were taking to address on-going problems.

Parolestat is helping the Division of Parole to achieve the goals of improved public safety and better outcomes for parolees. It serves as one more example of the application of modern management strategies designed to promote accountability and the efficient and effective use of government resources.