Rules management system helps Michigan Dept. of Corrections calculate prison sentences
The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) has 22 correctional facilities with a statewide prison population exceeding 40,000 inmates. Many variables can alter felons’ prison sentences — for example, they can cut their time or have time added based on credit for time served, level of participation in prison work and behavior.
With so many factors affecting the duration of incarceration, management of daily calculations is extremely complicated — and the stakes are high. One small error in manual entry could result in setting a felon free before the completion of a sentence.
In 2013, the MDOC turned to InRule, a business rule management tool, as part of a system upgrade. The tool aimed to eradicate any vulnerabilities that left the MDOC’s sentence management system open to potential miscalculations.
The entire process — from software delivery, to deployment, to completion — took 14 months. InRule has quickly become an integral part of the way the MDOC does business, according to Kirt Berwald, general manager of the State of Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget.
From incarceration through probation, the management tool is now used by the MDOC to process thousands of complex rules that affect each inmate’s prison sentence. It allows non-technical users to easily manage the logic that dictates a convict’s sentence. InRule tracks every variable that may affect length of incarceration or parole. The tool accurately processes more than 12,000 calculations per day.
“As we began upgrading our inmate management systems, we were concerned that developing and deploying the system would be extremely complicated and time-consuming,” Berwald says. “In the end, the simplicity of InRule has made our sentence management more efficient and accurate. It makes it very easy for our teams to write and manage sentence management rules.”