Telmate's GettingOut social product was meant to provide a safe place where loved ones and friends could interact with their incarcerated relations. A family member or friend could share moments, as they could on traditional social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but with total privacy and without discrimination from outsiders.
As the design lead, I was responsible for all aspects of the GettingOut application. From the iconography, color schemes, and concepts for sharing of life's details between inmates and their relationships.
Telmate Command Center
While at Telmate, one of the more significant projects I worked on was the Telmate Command Center. It was a tool where prison staff and law enforcement personnel could watch and listen to recordings between inmates and their family or friends.
The collected material was used for ongoing police investigations or scenarios where video and audio recordings were subpoenaed by prosecutors for court cases. Even with the quality of content at their disposal, there were still opportunities to improve on the tool for investigations.
While working on the initial concept of the product via sketches and wireframes, I started to look at the data Telmate possessed for the inmates who had used our system. Whenever someone was incarcerated at a facility, their records and usage patterns would leave a data trail behind in Telmate's records. Using the existing data, I searched for patterns, seeing if there were associations between inmates and others with criminal records.
I focused on the following criteria as I looked through the inmate records:
1) Geographical data — The previous residences for inmates; where they had been previously incarcerated; their cellblocks and for how long. Sometimes there were details as to where there had been conducting their criminal activities.
2) Criminal History — Rules violations at a facility; previous criminal records and convictions were present in the data.
3) Socio-economic status — There was also data available on the background of the inmates. From whether or not they were high school or university graduates, or quit school without accomplishing their GED.
4) Family situation — It was a common occurrence for people to build relationships with others they met while incarcerated, not to mention entire siblings, parents, or entire families being incarcerated.
Command Center Mobile Apps
Using the above criteria as data points and additional properitory information within Telmate's system, myself and another UI engineer were able to create an interface where law enforcement personnel could see potential connections based on the above criteria. The higher the percentage, the more likely there is a connection amongst inmates based on the established standards.
The Telmate Command Center tool was already a robust tool at the disposal for law enforcement staff, but the addition of the comparison tool added another layer of depth to their investigations. I worked on making sure this tool was something available for all authorized personnel regardless of whether they were at work or on the road.