Summit County, Ohio: Judge Amy Corrigall Jones, Administrative Judge of the Summit County Common Pleas Court General Division, announced the Court’s most recent innovative project, a smartphone application for use by offenders on probation in Summit County.
The Court will engage the services of Outreach Smartphone Monitoring (OSM) to provide access to an App for 1,000 moderate risk felony offenders currently on supervision through the Summit County Adult Probation Department.
OSM provides a technology solution through which enhanced supervision services will be provided during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Technology is being used throughout the country to enhance services courts provide. While I believe this is relatively new to Ohio courts, and we are definitely the first in Summit County, the use of a smartphone App as a tool in rehabilitating felony offenders has shown promising results,” stated Corrigall Jones.
OSM is a supervision application that is downloaded on the probationer’s phone and used for video check-ins, location verification, appointment scheduling, court hearings and appointment reminders, text messaging, affirmation statements, probation reports, and sanction/incentive scoring.
Monitoring is then conducted by the Probation Officer through the OSM site. The site is simple to use and allows the Probation Officer to customize a myriad of supervision settings to meet the specific needs of each probationer.
Director of Offender Services, Kerri Defibaugh sees the App not only as an opportunity to help probationers be successful, but also as a way to reduce some of the administrative workload placed on her officers.
“I have identified several areas where technology can really help us be more effective and enhance supervision and the Probation App is at the top of my list,” stated Defibaugh.
Defibaugh continued, “Significant portions of administrative duties like caseload enrollment and video verifications are managed by OSM, with alerts and notifications sent via email to the Officer. The Probation Officer has the ability to simply set scheduled check-ins or engage in continuous and active engagement with the probationer. This not only saves time, it allows for swift response to offender behaviors.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Probation Officers have been supervising offenders via video conferencing and phone calls. The Court recognized the time was right to move this project forward.
With assistance of CARES Act funding, the Court will be running a one-year trial with 1,000 moderate risk offenders. During this time, the App will be modified to meet the needs of Summit County Adult Probation with an eye towards expanding this service to all offenders.
Corrigall Jones said the App will be operational by July 1st.
Contact: Susan Sweeney, Assistant Court Executive Officer