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Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

July 2014    |    Volume: 46    |    Number: 7

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Assignment: Inmate classification

Decision support tool gives help to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections 

By Dan Li, Louis J. Plebani, Tamás Terlaky, George R. Wilson and Kristofer B. Bucklen

A major responsibility of any department of corrections (DOC) is assigning and transferring inmates to facilities based on security considerations as well as medical, mental health, behavioral and program needs. Assignment decisions are complicated because, while inmates have diverse requirements, state institutions have a heterogeneous nature. These planning and assignment logistics can be improved immensely by applying industrial engineering, as the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections found out when a decision support tool was developed to assist staff members in the process of assigning inmates to various locations. The interactive platform integrates analytical models and traditional database access with the business rules the DOC must follow. 


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