SharePoint is a tool that helps people solve a variety of challenges. Even challenges that are a matter of life and death.
One example is a small state that’s facing a big problem. Like many places around the country, Vermont is battling issues related to substance abuse and mental illness. But rather than just leaning on law enforcement to take care of criminal offenders, one community is taking a more strategic and innovative approach.
The Chittenden County State’s Attorney administers a program called Rapid Intervention Community Court (RICC), which helps some offenders gain access to community services as an alternative to incarceration. This ground breaking program got underway, but it required a new way of managing information in the state’s attorney’s office, a system that would help them track the people being served and provide insights into needed improvements.
They contracted with a local company that designed a brilliant prototype, and Aerie Consulting brought it to life using SharePoint.
Every month, Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan faces a new caseload of people who have been arrested, offenders he will have to decide whether or not to prosecute. Donavan created RICC in order to explore progressive alternatives to incarceration for certain offenders. The program seeks to identify people whose crimes are not severe, and have unmet needs that community support services can help them with, including mental illness, substance abuse and inadequate housing.
The program was working, but the agency needed better data management to fully realize its potential. They sought help from MHISSION Translational Systems, LLC, a company that works in collaboration with the University of Vermont. Founded by Dr. Tom Simpatico, MHISSION offered a web-based application could provide the framework the state’s attorney’s office needed.
“They were running the program without an information management system in place, so we designed a system to support what they were doing,” Simpatico said. With a design in place, MHISSION then needed a SharePoint contractor that could turn the blueprint into a living, breathing info-system. “I went to Aerie Consulting and they built out the logic model we had designed.”
They were very responsive and knowledgeable. I would present diagrams of what Donovan’s team needed, along with work flows, and they translated it into SharePoint.
Solution & Results
Aerie Consulting’s team focused on translating the descriptions Simpatico provided into a user-friendly system. “They were very responsive and knowledgeable,” Simpatico said. “I would present diagrams of what Donovan’s team needed, along with work flows, and they translated it into SharePoint.”
Aerie beta tested and implemented the info-system, making modifications based on user feedback. They also created the system so it will be easily transferable to other offices across the state.
“We now have a tool that allows the State’s Attorney to do things a very different way,” Simpatico said. “We want this tool to be used statewide, and once it reaches the broader population, our communities will benefit from it more and more.”
Donovan now has a novel and highly effective platform to help his office manage a complex array of information and processes, allowing him to offer minor offenders a chance to get the help they need. Simpatico gives credit to Aerie Consulting for helping make it happen. “I don’t think the implementation could’ve gone any more smoothly than it did,” he said. “They were great to work with.”
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