Mitigating H1N1 Costs within a County Correctional System
Client: A large county’s law enforcement and correctional facilities
Service: Kaizen Event
The 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu caused a series of issues for a large county jail and the court system, including:
- Disruption of due process caused by the need to quarantine sick inmates
- Additional costs for an already strained judicial system
- Need for greater efficiency in operations
Through a four-day Kaizen event, Guidon Performance Solutions helped the county:
- Reduce public and staff health risk from H1N1
- Improve efficiency in housing, transportation, and legal proceedings to move the judicial process forward even in cases where H1N1 is a factor
A thorough review of the process, the issues surrounding pandemic flu, and the input of a cross-functional team at the event helped the county:
- Achieve more than $1.135 million per year in cost savings
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 660,000 lbs. due to transportation efficiency improvement
- Reduce public exposure to H1N1
- Save $8 million by no longer needing to purchase additional land
Like many arms of government, this large county judicial system had been facing the need for cost reduction. Then the H1N1 pandemic flu became a nationwide issue. As inmates exhibited symptoms of the virus and became ill, they often had to be quarantined for as many as seven to 10 days, delaying the judicial proceedings and adding additional days of housing and medical treatment cost. In addition, other inmates, judicial system employees and officials, and law enforcement professionals were at risk of being exposed to the virus.
Guidon worked with the county to assemble a wide-ranging group of professionals from across the spectrum of law enforcement, including representatives from the district attorney, sheriff, public defender, probation and court services, and the executive offices. Many of these individuals either never work together or may work together in adversarial settings, so getting them to sit at a table together and work toward a common goal presented some challenges. However, the team quickly adapted and began working together to discover some creative and effective solutions. Some of these included:
- Streamlining the arraignment housing classification and creating facility-specific transportation to reduce transportation time, improve efficiency, and reduce unnecessary exposure to H1N1.
- Reducing inmate population by conducting pre-trial services more quickly and releasing those who are eligible prior to arraignment.
- Creating a mobile team to travel to hospitals and conduct arraignment proceedings in the hospital.
- Developing a more effective way of handling symptomatic minors.
The team streamlined the process of moving from arrest to arraignment by finding ways to more effectively determine necessary action to take for each inmate as soon as possible in the process. By streamlining housing and transportation decisions, those aspects were made more efficient which resulted in less potential for human exposure to H1N1, with an added benefit—a 660,000-pound reduction in greenhouse gas emissions due to more efficient transportation planning. Finally, the team identified efficiency improvements in handling minors in custody to prevent the spread of H1N1 in juvenile detention centers.
The potential cost savings to the county from the improvements discovered in this Kaizen event is significant, topping $1.135 million, breaking down as follows:
- Arraignment housing classification: $378,000
- Pre-trial services acceleration: $420,000
- Mobile arraignment teams for emergency cases: $1,200
- Facility-specific transportation systems: $336,000
In addition, the team projects an additional $48,000 in transportation savings, as well as a 50-percent reduction in H1N1 cases spread within the judicial system. As a result of the improvements made during the Kaizen event, the county no longer needed to purchase land it had originally planned to purchase – saving the county $8 million in cost avoidance.
Contact us or call us at 1.866.986.4414 or 480.986.4414 (for international callers) for more information regarding how a Guidon solution can help your organization.