80%Reduction in staff needed to keep up with high-volume workloads
40%Fewer steps to prepare and complete violations
↓Lower travel and hotel costs
Nearly two million Americans are incarcerated. Many states, like Louisiana, have passed major reforms to shrink prison populations and expand parole eligibility for nonviolent offenders.
The Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole, which falls under the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, plays a critical role in determining who’s released and under what conditions. “My pride in the work we do to assist victims but also help rehabilitated offenders back into society is what has kept me here for 15 years,” said John Poche, executive management officer.
The Board’s top priority is scheduling as many parole and pardon hearings as possible, giving a fair chance for both offenders and victims to plead their cases.
Poche and his team have been working behind the scenes to make the seven-member board’s work as efficient as possible. For that, they turned to DocuSign.
Going paperless with eSignature helped eliminate unnecessary face-to-face sessions while lightening a lot of the administrative heavy lifting that drained staff resources.
Unlocking the full potential of e-signatures by moving to DocuSign
Before the Board made the move to e-signatures, members signed everything in person. “Even during those weeks we didn’t have hearings scheduled, we needed board members in the office every day to sign parole violations and warrants,” said Poche. With members spread across the state, mileage and hotel costs added up. Form-filling errors did, too.
As a stop-gap solution, the Board used a combination of DropBox and Adobe Sign. This worked…unless multiple members tried to sign at the same time. To prevent file-saving conflicts, the admin team created separate docs for every member and combined them post-signature, but that was a time-consuming process that was vulnerable to errors.
In 2020, the Board switched to DocuSign. “We really needed to take electronic signatures to the next level to improve efficiency and cut down on errors with the vote sheets and decision forms,” said Poche.
After demoing eSignature, the Board was sold on its ease of use, bulk send functionality, and customizable templates that would help staff control where (and how) members can comment. As the Board transitioned from DropBox to Google Drive, the seamless eSignature integration was another plus.
“Of all the solutions we tested, DocuSign was the most organization-friendly,” said Poche. “Once we saw the templates in action, we were all in.”
Simplifying operations across the board
In the last year, the Board held 1,599 parole and pardon hearings and processed 13,883 violations. DocuSign eSignature helped them move more seamlessly, from start to finish.
Rather than having to pull, print and scan files, everything is done with a single click. For Poche and his team, the reusable templates are a huge advantage. Now they can have documents ready to go and even save internal recipient info for future use. Not only does the tool provide status visibility, it also ensures that documents keep moving along the chain of custody.
Board members are guided through the signing process in an automated way, which completely eliminated the incomplete forms issue the Board dealt with in the past.
“DocuSign enabled us to send documents out to multiple members at once, and they can sign at their convenience without any conflicts,” said Poche.
Making stakeholders happy and budgets more effective
According to Poche, the violations process has undergone the most remarkable transformation, with eSignature reducing the steps required to prepare and complete forms from 10 to 6—a 40% improvement. As a result, the Board was able to reallocate staff resources to other initiatives.
”Before, we needed up to five staff members to keep up,” said Poche. “Now we just have one full-time employee and a part-time helper. The Board also cut travel costs since members can sign from anywhere on their iPads.
On its path to paperless operations, the Board is using eSignature to fast-track other processes—including time sheets, release forms and reprimands.
“Members and staff love the new efficiency,” said Poche. “We’ve relieved some stress for everyone.”
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