Customer Story

Crow Wing County Community Services to Lower Recidivism with Data-Driven Program Planning

Company Overview

Crow Wing County was established in Minnesota on May 23, 1857 and organized March 3, 1870. The county is named for the Crow Wing River. Early French explorers noted that where the Crow Wing River joins the Mississippi River was an island in the shape of a crow’s wing, thus the French term riviere a 1 Aile de Corbeau, River of the Wing of the Raven. The area was a center for Indian trading for all the upper country.


Crow Wing County (CWC) is located in Minnesota and provides various social services to its 62,500 residents.  One of the many social services they provide is discharge planning for individuals incarcerated at the Crow Wing County jail.  CWC aims to lower recidivism, the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend, among this population by customizing discharge plans for each individual and implementing those plans in conjunction with other social services offered by CWC.

To measure the success of these efforts, they needed an effective way to track recidivism among the general population against those enrolled in a discharge plan. However, their only way to calculate recidivism was through manual cleansing and calculations in Excel spreadsheets. This process was not only time consuming, it was vulnerable to data errors and incorrect results. There was also no way for CWC to aggregate this metric with other dimensions or data sets in their business intelligence (BI) systems.

CWC needed data in one central place – requiring an automated solution to consume, cleanse, and aggregate data sources – for analysis. This would allow them to track recidivism rates over time and gain insight into what factors affect that rate.

The analytics solution that Analytics8 built has not only helped our leadership team track the results and outcomes of the discharge planning program, but it has also made life easier for the social worker who coordinates the discharge planning program. With our new solution, she can easily identify individuals who may benefit from discharge planning services as well as track outcomes for those for whom she has developed a plan.
The solution has been so successful in managing our data in this area that we have been able to provide data to show that our community would benefit from expanding discharge planning into a comprehensive re-entry program. The solution is also fairly easy to replicate (with some streamlined data entry), so we hope to expand comprehensive re-entry to other counties in our region in the coming year.


To solve CWC’s reporting problems, Analytics8 implemented a comprehensive data and analytics solution using QlikView.

Standardizing CWC’s various data sources, which includes Excel spreadsheets, SQL Server, and other third party data providers was the first step. Through several layers of data transformations, automated reloads now consume their daily files and cleanse and transform the files into the appropriate format. This has almost completely relieved the need for manual manipulation of files. Instead, users now simply create and save files to a specified path. The QlikView solution then transforms the files into a usable format.

The solution now houses all historical and future data in a useable and cleansed format. This format allows for two major improvements: time period analysis which allows CWC to see recidivism rates over time and the ability to join other CWC data sets, such as a permit tracking data and case worker time data.

With quality data in place, Analytics8 then worked with multiple departments within CWC to identify their KPIs and designed and built an application with multiple dashboards that shows the story in their data. Analytics8 built a dashboard that clearly illustrates recidivism information through the use of various graphs, charts and scatterplots, with the ability to “drill down” to see information such as how and when individuals were incarcerated.


CWC is focused on rehabilitating the lives of those who have been incarcerated by offering the most appropriate and effective social services to those individuals. These services are expected to lower recidivism in the county impacting both the convict and the safety of the residents of the county.

By integrating this application with existing data solutions, CWC can instantly gather all the information needed to create customized and informed discharge plans for each individual. From a single application, built in QlikView, they can now see a holistic picture surrounding an individual’s discharge plan, including case worker information, other social services being provided, and other pertinent client information.

Additionally, CWC no longer spends hours each day manually cleansing and gathering data to calculate recidivism rates. With their comprehensive data and analytics solution, they can spend less time on their data cleanup and put more focus on their clients’ needs.

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