Revolutionizing the Inmate Assignment System

jail cell

Nearly 100 unique factors have to be considered during the complicated task of assigning inmates to any of the Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s 25 facilities.  What once took seven employees nearly a week to accomplish can now be completed in less than 10 minutes at an expected savings of nearly $3 million, thanks to an algorithm created by a team of Lehigh University students and professors, and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. 

Over a period of five years, the team from Lehigh University worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to successfully implement the novel Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS). IADSS was designed to address the problems associated with inmate assignment by providing an optimal, simultaneous system-wide assignment tool.

This project, which has been recognized for its contribution on the floors of the House and Senate in the Pennsylvania Capitol and included in the permanent record of Pennsylvania, is the first time that O.R. methodologies have been used to optimize operations in the correctional system.