AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Technology is shaking things up in the criminal justice world. A new app has been created to improve communication amongst probation officers and offenders. The CSRA Probation Services offices is taking communication within criminal justice to an entirely different level. President and Founder of the new app called Community Supervision says the state of Georgia wanted to focus more on serious offenders but still offer resources to the misdemeanor probationers. "Find a way to provide services at a lower cost, a lower intrusion on the less serious offenders. At the end of the day, it was about what can we do to help people on probation to succeed on probation," says Mike Popplewell, President and Founder and previous probation officer.
The app bridges the gap between offenders not being able to appear in court due to transportation and job-related issues. He got the idea when he simply walked into a room full of people. "I looked and all I saw was the top of young people's heads. Everybody was bent over with their smart phones. And a light just went off. I said you know today's young people are so technologically proficient, if we had a smartphone app, I bet it would just take off like crazy."
And it did. The company now partners with over 170 courts, has 37 offices and about 150 employees. "We're getting bombarded with requests. It's just growing exponentially, as you said. It's just exploding faster than I can get out and train people," says Popplewell.
But why so popular? The app has the ability to recognize the offenders voice during the app login and can even locate the probationer at all times. We ran a test to see if the app could spot where we were. And it didn't disappoint. It located that the CSRA Probation Services office was on Oakhurst Drive.
Ginny Kent, the operations manager and also a previous probation officer, agrees that this is only the beginning for the app. "The sky's really the limit as to where it can go. Technology is changing every day and growing and I think this is going to be one of those things that grows with it," says Kent.
The app has been very popular among young people and both Mike and Ginny see it helping them succeed in the future. The CSRA Probation Services has some new innovative plans for the app they plan to unveil in the next few years.