Getting Out and Staying Out Case Study

The history of New York City’s Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) starts with its founder, Mark Goldsmith. In 2003, Mr. Goldsmith visited Horizon Academy on Rikers Island as a volunteer ‘Principal for the Day’ and helped coach and mentor young men who were incarcerated.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) and Department of Education (DOE) invited Mr. Goldsmith to return frequently after seeing early success. This eventually grew into GOSO, one of the most effective reentry programs in the New York City area.

GOSO helps young men who have been imprisoned or involved with the criminal justice system by providing counselling, education opportunities and employment readiness, which helps reduce re-offender rates. GOSO helps about 1,000 young men aged 16-24 each year, 90 per cent of whom do not re-offend (or a 10 per cent recidivism rate, in other words). By comparison, the national average for recidivism in the U.S. is 67 per cent.

How GOSO uses Penelope

GOSO was using an outcomes tracking software tool and decided it was time for a change in the spring of 2016. By the fall, the project team at GOSO had decided to go with Penelope.

GOSO decided to roll out Penelope using a staggered approach as they launched it across Rikers Island, Upstate Correspondence, and GOSO in the Community. Select members of the GOSO team carry a heavy caseload and Penelope’s case file structure and integrated features have made it easy for them to transition to the new software quickly.

The deployment process for GOSO lasted approximately three months from start to finish, including staff training, data migration, system configuration, and testing. The deployment and data migration process finished ahead of schedule and left the team with ample wiggle room to test the current system configuration before they rolled it out to other programs and staff.

Data migration

One of the largest factors that GOSO needed to consider while looking for a new software system was transitioning their data from their previous software provider.

Data migration was a substantial component of their deployment process as they wanted to hit the ground running with their current data.

Yampiero “J.P.” Polanco was a key player in the selection process as the Director of Measurements and Outcomes at GOSO. J.P. used the transition from their previous software provider to Penelope as a sort of “spring cleaning” for their data so that when the data migration process was complete, they were able to pull accurate reports from Penelope from day one.

Penelope reporting and smart forms make life easier

Reporting is a large reason J.P. and his team at GOSO have realized immediate benefit from Penelope. The built-in reports in Penelope allow him to pull necessary information with just a few clicks each week.

For larger reports, J.P. uses the free ODBC driver provided by Athena – this allows him to export data from Penelope into Excel, which he can then manipulate and analyze with his team. These reports are making it easier for GOSO to apply for government grants and expand into new programs.

Another Penelope feature heavily used by GOSO is the smart forms and outcomes assessments document builder. These allow J.P. and his team to build an unlimited number of documents as needed, from incident reports to psychosocial assessments for each program they offer.

Smart forms have enabled GOSO to become a truly paperless organization which means their data is safer, more accurate, and always available for analytics and reporting.

Check out some of our other case studies

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The Children’s Foundation has been helping Vancouver’s vulnerable since 1957. Learn more about their experience with self-hosted Penelope.

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Relationships Australia (RASA) provides relationship support services to individuals across Australia. Since implementing Penelope RASA has been able to more efficiently meet funding and operational requirements.

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Edgewood provides comprehensive counseling and mental health services in Naperville, Illinois. Learn more about their positive relationship with Athena Software.

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The Family Conservancy provides counseling services for individuals and families as well as extensive services in early education. They use Penelope’s wide range of features to manage their many programs.

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