Oregon Department of Corrections Evaluates Programs

Business intelligence software increases productivity by 25 percent; provides numbers for taxpayers, legislature

Cary, NC — March 16, 2004 — Knowing where and how tax dollars are being spent on state correctional programs is a pressing concern for many voters, legislatures and county budgeting offices. Under such scrutiny, the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) chose SAS software to streamline its information management process and provide a foundation for sharing knowledge throughout the state corrections system.

SAS, a provider of business intelligence software, said its data warehousing software allows the ODOC to improve system efficiencies through better collection and sharing of inmate data, as well as analysis of the effectiveness of various prison programs.

Laura Buring, database analyst with the ODOC, said SAS provided the department with the scalability and flexibility it needed to not only address the success criteria defined by the state's legislature, but also to implement programs that could benefit community safety by changing offender behavior.

"Prison programs are expensive, which is why we need SAS to help determine which ones are working and which ones are not," Buring explained. "SAS helps us evaluate how well we are achieving our goal of breaking the cycle of criminality."

Buring said that the ODOC selected SAS because it allowed the department to perform tasks from gathering and housing data to analyzing it for measurable results.

"In a short amount of time we have seen productivity gains above 25 percent in our Research and Evaluation unit, as well as increased accuracy in our reporting capabilities," she said.

With the SAS software, Buring said the ODOC is able to prove how effective its community programs are to the state, as well as justify the cost of its prison programs as defined by the legislature. The data warehousing technology has enabled ODOC to not only better monitor its prison programs, but has also laid the groundwork for better inter-agency collaboration.

"SAS' data warehousing software has enabled us to access data from anywhere and bring it all together in one cohesive system," continued Buring. "Doing so gives us the ability to evaluate offender information and also look internally at administrative issues and plan accordingly. Now we are able to achieve a more well-rounded view of the corrections system than ever before."

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