Innovation Brief: Illinois’ JWatch Probation Data & Case Management System
Published Dec 12, 2013, Lisa Jacobs and Susan Witkin, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Illinois’ 64 probation departments use a wide variety of commercial and “homegrown” data systems to gather and manage information on youth on juvenile probation caseloads and to track the work of probation officers who supervise and support them. Some departments utilize standalone databases or spreadsheets. Others rely upon costly proprietary data systems, which can be difficult to update or modify to produce needed reports. Many counties must hand-tally the aggregate data required to be reported to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts on a monthly basis.
JWatch is a real-time, web-based data collection and case management application developed with Models for Change, Redeploy Illinois, federal and local support to address the challenges. Its current version includes a complete Juvenile Probation Module and a Juvenile Police Contacts Module, which allow the efficient collection, use and sharing of a large volume of information regarding youth in conflict with the law and those on probation. In Illinois’ Second Judicial Circuit, probation officers in the Circuit’s 12 counties use this enhanced data capacity to improve youth outcomes, monitor their work and improve community safety. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) provides programming support, technical assistance and data security. Based on the successful implementation of the JWatch Juvenile Module, an Adult Probation Module has been developed for rollout in early 2014 and a Juvenile Detention Module is in early development. Each component of the JWatch system is or will be available for use, without charge, by probation agencies across the state.