Richmond City Jail inmate tracking computer system goes down for weeks

Richmond City Jail inmate tracking computer system goes down for weeks

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond City Sheriff's Office has been dealing with major headaches after its computer system went down weeks ago, leaving jail employees unable to electronically track inmates, forced to do things by hand.

Officials within city hall confirm that IMATS (Inmate Management and Tracking System) went down in August.

IMATS is the main computer software program the city jail has used to document inmates for more than a decade. IMATS tracks information like which cell inmates are housed, court appearances, time left in a sentence and even logging head counts, according to sources. It also calculates how much money the jail should be reimbursed each month by the state. Sources say the system's failure could lead to delays in processing and receiving that state funding.

Those sources say the system had been down for weeks, causing a lot of stress for employees who were forced to do much of what IMATS did by hand rather than letting the software handle the heavy lifting.

City officials also confirm that servers hadn't been backed up in months. Jail employees were instructed to re-enter the lost information from hard files manually.

The city sent IT technicians to help the Richmond Sheriff's Office, which runs independently. But officials say technicians ran into problems, reporting there were "hardware issues" and the "database had become damaged." IMATS was labeled "well past life expectancy."

Wednesday, city officials confirmed that IMATS is once again operational and is working off of city hall servers.

Alexis Carey, communications coordinator for the Richmond City Justice Center, issued a statement saying, "The Richmond City Sheriff's Office proactively ensures we have protocols, operating procedures and contingency plans in place to ensure all needs of the inmates we house and our employees are met. These measures were successfully executed by our staff and minimized disruptions. Previous issues to the Inmate Management and Tracking System (IMATS) have been resolved. Our Department of Information Technology team and our Records Team worked with the City of Richmond Department of Information Technology to ensure the management of inmate information."

The Richmond Sheriff's Office has not said how many man-hours are being spent re-entering data, and whether the Richmond Sheriff's Office will petition the city for a new inmate management system. The previous sheriff's administration had repeatedly asked the city to fund a new offender management system.

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