2016 Analytics 50 Honorees

Bexar County Government Analytics 50 Submission

Catherine Maras, Chief Information Officer
Bexar County Government
San Antonio, TX
Industry: Government

Business Challenge

In 2009, Texas’ Bexar County Jail was beyond capacity. At that time, about 4,700 inmates were held in a facility with the capacity of 4,563. The county began to have preliminary discussions to build a new jail facility at a cost in excess of $350 million. If the daily jail population did not begin to trend lower, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice might have mandated a new facility. Thus, the county commissioners created a countywide committee to review this issue.

Analytics Solution

The IT Department partnered with the Bexar County Judicial Services Department to build flowcharts of the current process and future ones by deleting unnecessary steps and inefficiencies. These flowcharts of the new, innovative justice process translated into analytical dashboards. Judicial Services coordinated efforts among the county’s various functional areas, such as courts, the jail, the district attorney’s office and other support services to input algorithms that have allowed the county to work more intelligently across the county’s integrated justice platform.

Impact

Information to make better decisions is now at a user’s fingertips and can be secured and acted upon in a matter of minutes. This has reduced the time for each individual to receive his/her due process. Over the last several years as the many dashboards have been implemented across Bexar County, daily jail population has been trending lower each year, even though the county’s population is one of the fastest growing in the United States. In all, Bexar’s jail population has been reduced by over 25%. Accordingly, in addition to not having to build a new jail, the county has experienced a reduction in operating costs for food, clothing, personnel and other general fund expenses. This has allowed the county to invest in other projects for the citizens, such as roads, facilities and other needed services.