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WA DOC Computerizes Visitor Tracking

Since 1993 the Washington state DOC has been working on a computer based program designed to track and manage people who visit prisoners. The program is called Public Access System (PAS). The hardware used includes an IBM compatible personal computer, video camera, bar code reader and laser printer. The software used includes DOS, Windows, Extra and the PAS program. The latter is custom software written and designed for the DOC by state Information Services Programmers.

The program was operational at seven of thirteen Washington prisons in early 1995 and was scheduled to be operational at all 13 by May, 1995. The current version of PAS performs the following functions: registers visitors, records personal visits, takes and retrieves digital visitor photos, identifies visitors by their bar codes, prints prisoner visiting lists, prints prisoner call lists, records comments by prisoncrats, enforces visiting schedules, retrieves prisoner data and information from the OBTS (Offender Based Tracking System) and transfers PAS data and information between prisons. Future versions of PAS will perform the following additional functions: schedule trailer visits, record attorney visits, track volunteer visitors, print detail and summary reports and detect visitors who visit at multiple prisons.

Other plans for further computerization of the DOC/DOP include rewriting the grievance system software and pursuing satellite video conferencing, putting chemical dependency information on line so it can be shared with other state agencies; extending the imaging system used by the classification unit to all computer users within the DOC, including the attorney general's litigation office. The latter calls for converting the current LAN into a Wide Area Network. This will enable the DOC to disseminate prisoner information via e-mail for processing telephone responses from the governor's office, movement issues and referrals. The DOC plans to increase its use and reliance on e-mail. This will have the effect of eliminating much information that has been useful in litigation because there will be no 'hard copy' of incriminating documents.

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