Maryland Division of Parole and Probation Unveils Kiosk Reporting System for Offenders
Partnership with New York, federal funding allow agents to spend more time on high-risk and violent offenders

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TOWSON, MD (July 20, 2011) ---The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) today unveiled a new Kiosk Reporting System for offenders who are under the supervision of the Division of Parole and Probation (DPP). Another tool demonstrating the O’Malley Administration’s commitment to refining community supervision in Maryland, the system uses software developed by the New York City probation department and enhanced by the DPSCS IT division for application in both states.

Similar in appearance to automated teller machines, kiosks capture an offender’s handprint, and automatically verify the person’s identification quickly. Offenders then must answer a series of questions. Any discrepancies, new arrests, or violations will generate an automatic alert to the offender’s supervising Parole and Probation agent.

Kiosks are not a substitute for face-to-face meetings with an agent, but instead, another tool which agents may use to enhance supervision. Using a set of risk assessment tools, DPP agents carefully screen offenders to determine their suitability for kiosk monitoring. Low-risk offenders may be eligible to primarily use the kiosk system, allowing agents to spend more time on high-risk or violent offenders who may be considered likely to re-offend. In addition, even some higher-risk offenders may be ordered to use the kiosk system in addition to face-to-face visits, thus further enhancing the agents’ abilities to monitor their clients.

“This system is yet another example of critical public safety partnerships,” says DPSCS Secretary Gary D. Maynard. “The O’Malley Administration secured nearly $440 thousand in federal funding for the actual kiosks, and New York allowed us to use their software at no cost. Our excellent IT division then further refined the software to make it usable in parole and probation field offices in both states.”

Governor Martin O’Malley added: “I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Probation for their generous contribution, which will help us continue to improve public safety here in Maryland. We all face similar challenges and that’s why we have made cross-border collaboration on public safety issues a priority here in our state.”

Begun as a DPP pilot project in Montgomery County, kiosks today are used by more than 2,600 Maryland offenders. The Annapolis DPP office, where today’s demonstration and announcement took place, had its kiosks installed in late 2010. Every DPP office in the state now has kiosks up and running.

In addition to eventually allowing agents to spend less time on check-in and other procedures with non-violent and low-risk offenders, the kiosks will prove beneficial for the offenders themselves. Rather than losing valuable time from work, offenders with fulltime jobs can use kiosks to check-in on a regular basis without allocating time for lengthier office visits.

“Thanks to the support of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, we continue moving Maryland forward as a national leader in the field of community supervision,” says Parole and Probation Acting Director Pat Vale.

Maryland Parole and Probation has become a leader in using technology and training to enhance community supervision from one end of the state to another. DPP has already installed Livescan machines in many field offices, a vital identification tool---again supported by DPSCS IT experts--- which automatically signals on an offender’s RAP sheet when that person is placed under state supervision. This can be critical information for local law enforcement, whether during a routine traffic stop or during an ongoing criminal investigation.

In addition, DPP has enhanced many partnerships with other states and D.C., making cross-border communication part of its daily work. DPP’s Violence Prevention Initiative continues to take repeat violent offenders off the streets by identifying more high-risk offenders, seeking more warrants, and vigorously enforcing the law when offenders violate their supervision.