One of the core features of SPIRIT is the ability to make on-the-spot referrals to service providers. We expect this to be an extremely valuable tool for law enforcement. In our extensive collaboration with gang task forces and juvenile probation we devised SPIRIT to be used in the field from a laptop, car mounted computer, tablet or any connected device.
One of the most common reoccurring situations we encountered in our research was where a police / probation officer comes in contact with a juvenile offender committing a relatively light crime (fighting or vandalism). In many situations the officer may have diversion opportunities but that exists in the form of a post card with names of agencies that may help the youth in question. Unfortunately the practice often misses the intention when a field officer attempts to make a referral. There is no tracking, no additional information on the service provider (other than a name, number & address) and there is absolutely no tracking / accountability for youth referred to the service provider in question.
More often though, the easiest option for the officer in question is to simply detain the youth, place him or her under arrest and send them through the system. Nationally that youth will sit in detention an average of 54 days awaiting a treatment program and referral through the courts.
Utilizing SPIRIT the same officer, through natural conversation, can glean the youth’s interests & risk factors and enter them into SPIRIT system to make a referral. In a matter of minutes the youth in question can be assigned to the appropriate service provider with real-time tracking, reporting and accountability for his or her actions.
The referring officer can ensure the youth is indeed completing the assigned program, each agency can benefit from roll-up reporting on which service providers are working with the known issues of a region and provide the intelligence needed to truly service the needs of the at-risk youth everywhere.