Over the past year Handel has been working with Natrona County, Wyoming on implementing RiteTrack for managing juvenile justice cases. This project is a pilot of a potential statewide RiteTrack implementation in Wyoming. Through this project we have learned about the Single Point of Entry model which, by Wyoming State Statue, states that every citation issued to a juvenile within a county of Wyoming shall be provided to the County and Prosecuting Attorney before that citation is filed in any court. This statute provides a “single point of entry” for juveniles. The law went into effect July 2011. However, Natrona County have had a Single Point of Entry model in place since the recommendations first came out in 2009 according to Amy Dorman who is the RiteTrack project manager for Natrona County.
When a resident of Natrona County under the age of 18, or over 18 but still enrolled in high school, is charged with a violation of the law, the county attorney reviews the juvenile and their violation with the single point of entry committee. The committee meets every Wednesday and consists of representatives from the district attorney’s office, Wyoming Department of Family Services, the Natrona County School District, Youth Diversion Program, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, and the treatment providers. Meetings typically last 60-90 minutes during which on average 10-15 new citations are discussed. Upon a preliminary review of the juvenile and his record, a recommendation is made whether to refer the juvenile to a diversion program. If this preliminary review shows that the juvenile is not suitable for the diversion program, recommendations are made that the citation be filed in a court of jurisdiction within the county.
“RiteTrack is a critical part of the weekly single point of entry meeting” says Dorman. “We hook up a laptop or one of our recently acquired Microsoft Surface tablets to a projector so that all the participants immediately can get the big picture on the client and their family. With all the RiteTrack information at our fingertips and representatives from all the key stakeholders in the room it becomes much easier to assess the right path for each individual youth.”
Dorman believes that having RiteTrack as the central juvenile justice case management software in Natrona County helps reduce errors, expedites processing time, and results in better outcomes for the youth served. “RiteTrack is no longer just at someone’s desk. The other day I was visiting a high school and the principal was asking about a youth. Immediately I was able to pull the data up on our Surface tablet and give the principal the information requested.” Dorman also explains that they use RiteTrack in the courtroom where they can enter adjudications in real-time. The Natrona County Juvenile Detention Center uses RiteTrack to manage all processes from intake through discharge.
“Ultimately, having a single point of entry program along with RiteTrack helps keep more kids out of detention and shorten times for those who are there.” says Dorman.