Whether Code for America is helping people with past criminal convictions move on with their lives, or creating tools to de-escalate encounters between mentally ill individuals and the police, our work focuses on how we can work together with government and communities to increase safety, reduce costs, and serve people better.

Using text messaging to help people succeed on community supervision

Technical violations and failures to appear in court for individuals on community supervision are a serious problem in Salt Lake County. Case managers know the best way to keep their clients compliant with the terms of their probation is to check in with them often, remind them of their commitments, and help them with problems that arise. Stakes are high—if they don’t comply with probation, they may go to jail.

To make it easier for individuals and their pretrial or probation case managers to communicate by text, Code for America built ClientComm—a web application that enables case managers to send automated, but customizable text message reminders, answer questions, and deliver quick coaching via text, all from their desktops.

Since launching in 2016, we have expanded our pilot partners to include eight community supervision agencies in Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maryland, Georgia, and California.

Helping Californians apply for Clean Slate and criminal record expungement services online

Clear My Record is a free, online, multi-county, referral application for expungement, dismissal, and reclassification relief in the Bay Area. Prior to the introduction of Clear My Record, the primary way to apply for these services were in person and the process could take up to a year.

Since launching in April, we’ve had great success with increasing the number of applicants in San Francisco county. We have sent over 200 applications to the public defender and expect to send over 1000 by the end of the year. We have also increased efficiencies for clients and public defenders by helping them shift to an electronic process for requesting RAP sheets from the police department, and reducing data entry errors because clerks don’t need to interpret clients’ handwriting.  We are working on a number of additional improvements, including establishing a direct connection to their case management system.