A renewed focus on information technology: visions for a new ACA committee.

Position:Guest Editorial - American Correctional Association

As announced in her inaugural speech last January at the American Correctional Association's 2017 Winter Conference in San Antonio, ACA President Lannette Linthicum, M.D., called for the establishment of an Information Technology/Information Support (IT/IS) Committee. Linthicum's vision for the IT/IS Committee was outlined in four foundational charges:

--Define the sentinel IT issues that will affect corrections professionals, including workforce development, recruitment and staff retention, wireless utilization, and process efficiencies.

--Identify correctional organizations modeling best practices in IT management strategies, including showcasing innovative approaches and identifying key data that drive change and cost.

--Develop a framework to enhance data sharing among correctional agencies, including establishing unique correctional benchmarks, comparing clinical data and outcome metrics, and facilitating partnerships that create knowledge sharing.


--Work with ACA in continuous quality improvement of the accreditation process by providing real-time analysis of compliance with expected practices, identifying barriers to progress, and developing actions needed to assist in the resolution process.

I am excited to join Linthicum in this effort as I believe her leadership and vision will help create a transformative environment for ACA. There is no doubt these charges represent significant challenges for the IT/IS Committee. I share her optimism that implementing these charges will advance our profession substantially.

Technology has become prevalent in almost every facet of our work environment.

There exists a strong demand among practitioners for reliable information and an intrinsic need to identify opportunities for improving operations using industry benchmarks and proven solutions. The current corrections model focuses on evidence-based processes using assessments and programs to treat the causal factors driving our populations. This newer model is highly dependent on data sharing and reliable, accurate and timely information. As a seasoned IT practitioner, I have seen firsthand how technology can improve operations when implemented effectively. Unfortunately, I have also been in organizations where data has been siloed and fractured. In these cases, there are often inefficient processes and unrealized outcomes that result from the inability to readily share information across the enterprise to vital partners...

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