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Crime Technology

Prisoners Freed After Cops Struggle With New Records Software 128

itwbennett writes Police in Dallas are scrambling after difficulties using a new records management system caused more than 20 jail inmates, including a number of people charged with violent crimes, to be set free. The prisoners were able to get out of jail because police officers struggling to learn the new system didn't file cases on them within three days, as required by law.
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Prisoners Freed After Cops Struggle With New Records Software

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  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:27AM (#47296403)
    Users problems or more probably passive-agressive resistance. People are not as dumb as they pretend to be. They quickly figure out if there are "problems", that maybe they will fall back to the older, simpler methods quickly. Or bluntly put, we will follow the new orders from above exactly as we were told.
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @03:37AM (#47296429)

    ...and turned the old system off without making sure...

    It's not like the previous system of oversized crayolas and little yellow sticky notes was much better than the new system. Under the old system, the 20 inmates would have probably been marked released by the system, but kept in jail indefinitely.

    Man Suing Dallas County Jail

    May 30th, 2007 | By admin | Category: Dallas County, In The News

    By Jack Fink, CBS 11

    A North Texas man is suing Dallas County and the maker of its jail computer system for violating his civil rights. He claims he was lost in the system for six days.

    Jim Muise credits a political leader from a foreign country for helping him get released and now he wants justice.

    Muise is an automotive journalist. His stay in the Dallas County Jail kicked his emotions into overdrive.

    “I felt like no one on the outside was able to hear me,” Muise said.

    Muise said he was falsely arrested outside a Dallas restaurant for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

    “I had people, friends of mine, associates of mine sitting outside the jail the morning after I was arrested willing to post the bond, and they couldn’t find me to say how much the bond was,” Muise said.

    His name was nowhere to be found in the computer system in February, 2005, a month after it had gone online.

    Muise, who is a Canadian citizen, got so desperate at one point he made a collect call to relatives in Halifax, Nova, Scotia. Luckily for him, they’re close family friends with a Canadian senator who in turned called the jail to help find Muise.

    Muise was released the next day. “If not for my family and other people working so hard for me, I might still be there,” he said.

    He is now suing the county and InfoIntegration, the company that installed the software.

    “They knew, or should have known, that if their system didn’t work properly, people’s civil rights would be violated,” Muise’s attorney said.

    The company hasn’t responded in court yet, but in a similar case, it denies the system was faulty and inaccurate.

    The county hasn’t filed a response in court either, but Commissioner John Wiley Price said the county has corrected the problems.

    “We know where people are in the system,” Commission Price said. “We know when they come into the system.”

    Muise wants someone held accountable. “Somebody’s got to stand-up for what goes on,” he said.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:20AM (#47296517)
    My guess is the management just dumped the software on them, and its sink or swim time for whoever is below management.

    They did that to me at an aerospace company I used to work for. ViewLogic. On a 386SX running Doublespace. I sank. Miserably.

    Up to that time, I was quite comfortable using my old DOS tools... Futurenet CAD and PADS PCB. I had spent several years with those and had been introduced to these tools by experienced people.

    The new ViewLogic was introduced by removing my old machine and bringing the new machine, along with some books, and a 40-hour charge number to cover training. I rapidly fell way behind, which was good reason for my dismissal. I could never get the hang of operating that thing when it was so underpowered I never knew if I was successful in selecting an item before doing something with it, and I would commonly do something to a previously selected item. Drove me nuts.

    However, this was an aerospace company... funded by the government, Its not like they were actually trying to retain anyone. It seemed every Thursday, someone got the ax. If one played his p's and q's right, he got promoted to management, where they were a bit more immune to the layoff and better paid too - and besides they did not have to deal with trying to build the thing they promised to the customer, however the management jobs were usually filled by someone coming in from another aerospace company - often another one that failed.

    We were a big company at the time... and since we attracted so many resumes, an engineer wasn't worth much. It looked to me as if we were a dime-a-dozen commodity brought in to sign the line marked "responsible engineer". Something to be soiled like toilet paper, then neatly flushed.

    I get the idea the same thing happened here. Whether its learning how to play a new musical instrument, learning a new language, getting the hang of a new neighborhood,,, well all these things take some time. My time constant for this is measured in years. Too long, I suppose.

    I have been using EAGLE for about a year now, started at 4.16, now at 6.5.0 , and am finally getting the hang of it when I know something has gone wrong and what to do about it. Yes, I did make a few bad PCB when I do not know what I am doing; I did it with PADS too... - acceptable when one is designing Arduino test boards, but that kind of ignorance is ill-advised when its going into military use.

    In the end, the big company failed too. We created a heckuva lot of good stuff, but did not do anything with it. Garmin and Magellan sold stuff based on our work and made money. We just committed big retirement plans to the executives and later sent them on their way on golden parachutes.

    After my experiences there, I still have an extreme distrust for men wearing suits.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @10:01AM (#47297523)
    An audit [] found this after the murder of Corrections Chief a couple years ago by someone let out early. The error rate is mostly due the complexity of readjusting sentences for new infractions in prison and good behavior credit. The errors are both longer and shorter.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.