Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inmate Locator on CDCR website wins Best of California Award

Public given 24-hour access to information about inmate location, addresses,
visitation guidelines, and other resources


The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Enterprise Information Services has won the Center for Digital Government’s 2011 Best of California Award in the category of Best Application Serving the Public. Accepting the award for CDCR were Sandra Chamberlin, Robert Patterson, Bill Buffington and Chris Beach.

The award, presented Monday, May 9, during the Government Technology Conference West in the Sacramento Convention Center, is for the Inmate Locator on the CDCR website, http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/. The Inmate Locator gives the public – including friends, family, the media, and crime victims – as well as other government agencies the ability 24/7 to find an inmate among the nearly 165,000 in the State’s correctional institutions.

"This is an excellent demonstration of the efficiencies gained by leveraging technology," said Joe Panora, Chief Information Officer for CDCR. "This is a powerful example of improving public access and availability of information through the use of technology and the Internet."

CDCR estimated the site would attract between 50,000 and 100,000 visitors a month. Since its implementation on Oct. 13, 2011, however, the site is averaging nearly 8,000 visitors a day – about 250,000 a month and growing. The only cost of the site was its development, which was projected to be $13,000 but was actually $10,000.

The Inmate Locator site includes links to related information, such as addresses for facilities, visitation guidelines, mail guidelines, frequently asked questions and community resource information. It reduces the demands on CDCR staff time to respond to telephone or written requests for such information. Phone calls seeking information provided on the site have dropped from approximately 7,200 a month to 2,000, and letters from approximately 1,000 a month to 360.

Other CDCR offices collaborating with the Enterprise Information Services on the development of the site were the Office of Legal Affairs; the Division of Adult Institutions; Female Offender Programs and Services; and the Office of Public and Employee Communications.