Data Superheroes

Shonn Harrold: Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau

Automated and Ad Hoc Reporting Faster Than A Speeding Bullet!

Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau had a wealth of information tucked away in a large database that nobody was able to utilize because it was so inaccessible. Shonn Harrold, Assistant Director of Tulsa County, was tasked with creating reports and tabulations of this data – often by hand. The process involved making printouts of individual records, going through each one and adding little checks in a column with a pen until he got the information he needed, then hand-calculating what he was interested in and writing it up as a report. This procedure was time-consuming and error-prone. As Shonn explains, “As a community government agency, when someone asks how many kids shoplifted during the last year, we should be able to answer that question without it being a monumental undertaking.” With this in mind, Tulsa County set out to find a better way to work with their data.

tulsa-quote_blueTo decide which solution would be best for them, Tulsa County hired a consultant to wade through all of the paperwork and data for the past five years and build reports that would be updated annually or biannually. After doing some research, the consultant came across Rapid Insight Veera software at a conference and recommended it. Because of its ease of use, the consultant felt that Veera was best option for Tulsa County to be in control of their data for an extended period and not have to pay someone for a one-shot report whenever they wanted to do updates. Shonn is now about to run reports on a weekly basis and is keeping up with things a lot more efficiently.

Another reason Tulsa Juvenile chose the Rapid Insight solution was for the customer support. Shonn utilized the support for help with some of the more statistical aspects of his analyses, and whenever he needed help designing a new job or report. “They made it very easy for me to follow what they were doing, to help me understand what I needed to do, to help me build my initial job, and to point me in the right direction for building new jobs with the logic behind them.”

Since implementing the software, Shonn has automated reports for many departments within Tulsa Juvenile. One typical in-house repors details the previous week’s intakes into the detention center and outlines all of the demographic information for those kids, like what crimes they’ve committed in the past and what got them into detention. Other reports include outlining counselor workloads, tracking programs within the probation department, and reporting on case outcomes for a children’s home run by the county. All of these reports are automated and most are run weekly for each part of the system.

In addition to automating some of his necessary reporting, Shonn has also been able to use his data to perform in-house analyses. “I’m using demographic data with court and crime data and some income data to do small studies about kids that we adjudicated for crimes and what income range they fell into. I’ve also incorporated parental data about whether kids had a single mom or a single dad. I’ve also done demographic studies to determine whether or not we were disproportionately adjudicating certain races over others.”

Tulsa uses the results of their reports to make changes and become more efficient. After analyzing counselor workload, they have made administrative changes to increase their effectiveness. “Now we’re able to quickly catch on to and analyze trends, which has provided some helpful insights,” says Shonn about their use of crime data. “It’s extremely important to catch things before they get out of hand, and now we’re able to address things within the community much faster than we were able to in the past”.

When reporting their results, they’ve been able support their assertions using data rather than subjectivity, which they are able to easily disseminate to the appropriate people. It now only takes Shonn about an hour or two to create a completely customizable report regarding the kids. Easier access to their data means being able to target more specific questions both internally and externally in terms of the reports they are creating. He has also created several custom reports to help both the mayor and other community agencies in their bids to obtain grants.

His next goal is to build a predictive model for the kids based on things like the crimes they’ve committed, demographic information regarding family makeup, and the part of town they live in, to determine whether they’re sending kids to the right treatment and whether or not they’ll be successful. Matching juveniles with the best treatment is critical – to the juveniles, their families, the community, and to the agencies who provide services to them all.

About Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center
The mission of the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau is to collaboratively promote and administer prevention, justice and effective treatment in a fair, timely and appropriate manner with dignity and respect for the needs of the children, youth and families and for the safety or our community. Oklahoma developed one of the first juvenile courts in the county in 1909. In 1950, the Tulsa county Juvenile Court was established in its own facility and provided a judge specializing in juvenile law. In 1968, a juvenile center was built to house the courts and the supportive programs for the juvenile justice system. The programs of the Juvenile Bureau serve those youth and families involved in the juvenile courts, or at risk for involvement. The Juvenile Bureau serves over four thousand youth and their families per year.

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