Imagine a complex system designed by a committee of millions of attorneys over a span of more than 200 years. That is what our legal system is. Now, imagine software that allows non-technical users to document and evaluate their work with the system as they weave through its labyrinth. That is what Tracker, an application for case management, provides to justice agencies.
A huge application that basically models the entire justice system, Tracker is designed to provide an integrated view of the justice process from the point of an initial crime report all the way up to and including corrections and parole and long-term follow-up. With a fully featured GUI, centralized management, and integrated internet, Tracker allows remote and mobile access so branch office and on-call employees can connect from wherever they need to. This highly evolved software suite rests on Revelation Software’s OpenInsight 9.4, a MultiValue-based application development environment.
Based in the Chicago metropolitan region, Solution Specialties, Inc. has been developing information systems for justice agencies since 1987, and has customers using its Tracker software from coast to coast. Tracker grew from the experience of Solution Specialties founder and president Dan Reese. Reese previously worked as the director of an agency in the criminal justice system, and has a research background at the undergraduate and graduate levels. “My interest goes way back to when I was working in the field and trying to write grant proposals and bring money into the agency. A lot of the grants have a research focus. We were trying to collect data separate from doing the day-to-day work and we found that it was just impractical,” recalled Reese in a recent interview.
Leveraging Real-World Experience
“Because I worked in the field and was in a management role, I knew that the agency already collected all the information that it needed to do this type of analytical work. It was just buried in file folders, in multiple forms, and not very accessible. The software grew out of an effort to integrate data collection with daily operations so the average employee did not have to do extra work,” Reese said. “We wanted the information to be organized in such as way as to facilitate outcome-based research.”
At first, the software was used exclusively by Reese’s agency. In the late 1980s, after the software came to the attention of the State of Illinois, he was asked to participate in a statewide comparison of products. When the application came out on top, Reese decided to make the move into the software industry, and Solution Specialties was born.
“The legal system is not one thing. It varies from state to state and from county to county, with different interpretations, programs, funding, and terminology,” said Reese. As a result, the software was designed from the start to be flexible and transportable between jurisdictions, city, county, state and any political subdivision. Since not every customer uses every component of the software, there is the ability to turn pieces of the application on and off.
Revelation has provided the software development environment from the beginning. Initially, the company adopted Revelation G2B, later moved to Advanced Revelation, and is now on OpenInsight 9.4, and anticipating new capabilities in the next major release of the flagship product, 10.0.
Early requirements were that the software be PC-based, and friendly to non-technical users with an English-like language interface because the software was to be used by non-technical people in the field. It had to have strong text handling capabilities, and the ability to manage complex data. The company’s application suite sits on top of behavioral science research engine that allows users to evaluate the effect of their efforts and manage costs.