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Solutions for Rural Justice

Rural justice solutions touch many areas of social policy and concerns from a state and local level. There’s no clear answer to replacing a retiring workforce in a rural community or providing consistent law enforcement, but there are policies and clear technology strategies that can leverage funding effectively improve access to justice.

Consolidating Funding
for county courts through the state, but leaving day-to-day operations to the
district allows for more consistent spending on infrastructure and staffing (Reengineering Rural Justice in Minnesota).

Connecting Systems from other community and state organizations is critical between juvenile courts and tribal justice. The Federal Indian Child Welfare Act requires communication between the courts and tribal services to determine the best course of action for a juvenile offender. Telehealth and other community service programs and court systems/law enforcement records can be shared in real-time which can help offset poor internet access and bandwidth in rural areas.

Reducing or Eliminate Paper – If the process requires paper to move with the case or individual, it is inefficient and wastes time and too many man-hours in and out of the courtroom. A document capture solution, converting paper to electronic, searchable content is the foundation of automation.

E-filing and Case Management – Your organization may have court
automation in place. Does it extend to your most rural locations? Can a case be
filed, referenced or a sentence carried out electronically? Regardless of your
current system, this extension of technology is available. If there’s a case
number and a paper form, automation and improvements to access are possible. A
case number can populate an electronic form automatically with all relevant
information. A decision in the courtroom can automatically generate the next
workflow. This is a great example of enhancing an existing system with electronic
forms in the courtroom: ILINX at
Stanislaus
.

Remote Access – Most experts agree defendants and defense attorneys should be in the same location, but they could be remotely engaging with the courtroom, or the courtroom could be mobilized. Although internet access in remote areas is an ongoing challenge, many document-driven interactions can be secured to locations like a library or post office with adequate bandwidth via either a kiosk or personal device.

ImageSource and our ILINX platform
can extend your courtroom and legal interactions to remote counties. Our ILINX
platform can engage with an existing system like Tyler, IBM or something homegrown.
ILINX can enable a remote courtroom and facilitate equal access.

Can we talk in more detail about your rural justice initiatives? ImageSource is providing a one-hour complimentary assessment of your current courtroom automation and delivering recommendations for improvement. If you are interested, please follow this link to sign up. We will contact you promptly to schedule the time.

https://imagesourceinc.com/rural-justice-landing/

Rural Justice Crisis Has Consequences for States

The Rural Justice crisis and the pressure on State and County governments to find solutions is well documented. States that otherwise may not have much in common like Alaska, Nevada, New York, and North Dakota have all worked on policy and incentive programs for law enforcement and lawyers to reside and practice or serve in rural communities. It’s also recognized that urban courts have rural justice reach as they need to communicate to all involved in a court-related matter regardless of their location. Studies agree that traveling 200+ miles to see a lawyer or make a court appearance is not equal justice under the law.

The state of Nevada has found that leaving problem up to counties to solve has created legislative consequences. The state introduced a bill in 2015 that died in committee and passed Bill 377 in 2017 that created a commission to find solutions, but none have been implemented. In those two years, various counties in Nevada attempted to solve the problem independently. In November 2017, the ACLU filed suit against the state of Nevada for violating the 6th amendment in six rural counties (ACLU Sues Nevada).

Rural justice initiatives and solutions must include collaboration between systems of record for Law Enforcement, Child Welfare Services, and Tribal Courts.  In 2006, the State of Alaska recognized the expansion of technology as one of the top five solutions to their rural justice crisis. They integrated their public health records, law enforcement records, tribal records, and court records to facilitate communication between all the organizations. This has been especially useful in communities where internet access isn’t guaranteed. Law Enforcement and Legal professionals can access all information in real-time and share with the individuals participating in the court system. The state has been especially creative holding court sessions in local facilities like high school gyms, decreasing the amount of travel for a defendant, plaintiff, lawyer or witness.

 Are your counties, public departments, and indigenous communities communicating seamlessly to improve rural justice?

The full Initial Report and Recommendations of the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission can be found here: Alaska Rural Justice

Looking at Rural Justice

Changes in US life and industry have left states and local governments with changing communities and shifting resources. Legal systems are affected directly as rural communities become more isolated from legal resources and services. Meanwhile, lawyers in rural areas are retiring, moving and are not consistently replaced by newer lawyers or law school graduates.

State and local governments are faced with the problem of providing a speedy trial or access to justice and are faced with the problem of how to interact with rural community members. This includes all legal services initiated by individuals or initiated by the local government. There are some obvious risks like not collecting court fees efficiently, not providing a speedy trial resulting in a dismissal of charges, and perhaps more serious is the long-term risk to public safety.

There are infrastructure and access issues unique to rural areas. How far away is the courthouse? Is there a lawyer available in the community to advise or represent individuals? Does law enforcement have access to rural community members to provide protection, serve papers, etc.? Do the rural areas have internet access?  California and New York have been leading the way via nonprofit organizations encouraging (and incenting) law students to consider serving in rural areas, providing pro bono services via traveling lawyers and organizing judges to visit rural areas at regular intervals.

Has your organization developed a rural justice strategy?

Here are some additional resources on the topic

New York Rural Justice

One Justice

RPA Solution at Call Center Improves Service and Pays for Itself in a Year

Technology leaders are jumping on the Robotics Process Automation (RPA) technology bandwagon for good reason. It yields tremendous value in a myriad of business and industry sectors. RPA automates repetitive manual tasks performed by human workers, so their time can be used in higher value responsibilities. Because manual actions occur in so many different business processes, RPA is one of the most rapidly expanding technologies today.

Common business processes that can benefit from the use of RPA technology include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Customer or employee onboarding
  • Regulatory compliance reporting
  • Order scheduling & tracking of shipments
  • Loan application opening
  • Credit collections
  • Shipment load research

High Adoption Rate Driven Is by the Bottom Line and Top-Notch Service

Two primary factors are driving the demand and embrace of RPA: tremendous ROI and improved quality of service. Typically, investment costs can be recouped in a very short amount of time—often just a few months—while ongoing savings can be substantial. RPA allows you to process disputes faster and more accurately, 24x7x365.

One global IT company estimates that 62% of customers will consider switching to a competitor after only one or two unpleasant experiences. Besides saving taxpayer money, even government agencies need to supply great customer service through speed and accessibility. Think about USPS, who now competes head to head with UPS and FedEx for shipping services.

The Call Center—An Ideal Setting to Leverage RPA

For the purpose of this blog, let’s take the case of a large multi-national financial institution (we’ll call them $-Corp) with a customer service call center operation. They employ hundreds of Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), spanning multiple countries. As with many large corporate environments, call centers typically utilize several systems in their day to day business. These generally include a CRM system. Often, the CRM will interface with to pass data to and/or require data be passed back by ERP systems and/or other Line of Business (LOB) systems. Any of these systems may be commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) applications or custom applications developed in house. Further, these systems may or may not have Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) that allow for easy back end integration.

In this case, customers call into the $-Corp Call Center to dispute items on their financial records. Typically, customers will send in supporting documentation for their disputes. As with all high-volume transaction environments, CSR’s work to process as many transactions per day as possible. Every keystroke and mouse click is measured. These actions relate to Average Call Handling time, which directly translates to cost of operations. Thus, $-Corp Call Center is a prime process candidate for reducing costs and improving the Average Call Handling time.

Repetitive Tasks Peppered Throughout Workflow

$-Corp Call Center utilizes a fully automated business process workflow to address the core functional requirements of their operations. Processing disputes involves repetitive tasks that must happen on every single transaction. Prior to harnessing the power of RPA, CSRs manually keyed dispute information into two systems: the CRM system (in this case Salesforce) and on multiple screens of a LOB application that is the system of record (Customer Dispute Information System, or CDIS). Although this aging technology and will be replaced with a proper CRM system at some point in the future, for now, the Call Center must utilize this custom developed front end user interface with an AIX database backend. This is where RPA has provided huge value.

RPA Leverages Existing ECM System

The initial Call Center solution utilizes the Enterprise Content Management system (ECM) infrastructure already in place to automate the processing of supporting documents submitted by the customer. An import utility is used to capture incoming electronic documents from an upload portal on $-Corp’s website and convert them to TIFF files using a format conversion tool. Advanced Capture is used to OCR these documents, as well as scanned paper letters, forms, etc. that are mailed in. Extracted information is then infused as metadata into the workflow process that CSRs use to work through disputes with customers. When the CSR completes a dispute transaction and submits the record into the CDIS system, ILINX automatically passes the data to Salesforce.

Let’s circle back to the repetitive tasks requiring CSRs to manually key information. Since this data has been electronically captured and extracted, RPA agents (or bots) are utilized to update the CRM and LOB systems and monitor the updates for failures. RPA technology takes a push of XML data from a Salesforce dispute record and inserts that data into the various screens in the CDIS interface. It then submits the record and returns transaction information back to Salesforce.

Keystrokes Cost Millions

The manual keying of that information into other systems, like $-Corp CSRs did before the bots took that task, can involve hundreds of keystrokes per case. It can also require specific formatting of the data. RPA addresses data formatting taking existing data from one source and apply it to another source, thus eliminating the possibility of human error when keying. By using RPA to execute the redundant and manual tasks, every single transaction, performed by hundreds of CSRs every day, shaves time off of the Average Call Handling time. In this environment, quickly completed transactions are king. The ROI, estimated by the Call Center staff for this solution, is significant. They expect to recoup the initial investment within year one.

Building Value on Top of Value

The RPA solution alone was a significant benefit to the Call Center operations. Yet, RPA provides exponential value when coupled seamlessly with existing workflows, and associated backend processes: onboarding of electronic and paper content, OCR technology, integrations, etc. These ECM technologies further enhance a comprehensive and PCI compliant solution that is easily scalable as $-Corp continues to grow. Scaling the RPA solution can be as simple as adding additional VDIs or adding additional server resources to the solution to address additional volume.

Because of the successful deployment in the Call Center, $-Corp is currently investigating additional business processes in multiple departments that will benefit from RPA. With such sizable reductions in operational expenses and rapid ROI, they are anxious to find other areas to leverage the RPA capabilities in the ILINX ECM stack to achieve significant information technology wins.

Why RPA isn’t just trendy

It seems like RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, is all the rage in innovation circles, but ultimately its true benefit is defined by its ability to add value to your company. But how does RPA benefit you? And at what cost?
As leaders in business process automation since 1994, we would love to share insight on Robotic Process Automation.
While seemingly a buzzword, RPA adds value to your organization by automating processes typically performed by employees, while increasing accuracy and minimizing processing time. This is not only possible for one application or process, but can span multiple applications as necessary, including desktop apps, email, Excel, terminal emulators, databases, and more.
There is measurable value to be gained through the addition of Robotic Process Automation systems. To start, it is estimated that 30% of current technology jobs will be replaced with Robotic Process Automation systems by the year 2025 (whatisrpa.com 2017). This means that your organization is currently spending time and money to complete processes and tasks that can and will be replaced in the near future. The bigger picture is that these processes aren’t just replaced by RPA, but they are actually improved and streamlined.
RPA implementation has many benefits beyond just automation. It delivers increased accuracy, leading to up to a 40% reduction in time spent and saves 30% of the typical costs associated with completing processes (whatisrpa.com). These robots also work 24 hours a day with no breaks, freeing up your workforce to direct their efforts elsewhere.
Now, this all sounds great for business, but how difficult is the implementation of Robotic Process Automation?
To start, ILINX automation tools have a small learning curve and a very intuitive user interface. In addition, choosing to implement ILINX, which provides a robust and customizable RPA system, means you have the ImageSource team to aid you in the deployment of your Robotic Process Automation system to ensure that you and your robotics implementation are successful.
So, if you want to be on the cutting edge of innovation while saving your organization time and money, visit ImageSource.com or ILINX.com today.
Jack Weakly, Marketing
ImageSource, Inc

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