Hillsborough District Launched in April
By D. Joan Bishop
||“Odyssey” – a long wandering or quest characterized by frequent changes in fortune.
Webster’s 9th Collegiate Dictionary, 1983
What Odyssey Can do for You
Odyssey is a friendly product to use, says Concord District Court clerk Michelle Caraway whose staff has been working with Odyssey since January. Here are some of the features Michelle and her staff like best:
Improved system for balancing daily fine collections speeds up the process for closing out the books everyday.
- User friendly screen layout makes it easy for novice users to quickly find case names, parties, and hearing dates.
- “hot keys” replace mouse clicks to speed up data input
- Special “validation” feature assures more accurate data entry
- “Case summary” report replaces document index sheet and provides additional case, party and financial information
The goal of finally having a new, operational case management system in the courts has indeed been an odyssey. After many years of using what has become a cumbersome program, the courts are finally seeing the results of a more efficient system. Few remember, however, that when SUSTAIN was introduced to the courts around 1990, it was a “state-of-the-art” system. In some court locations, it was the first automated case management program ever. Prior to that, the courts were keeping case information on 3 x 5 cards and typewriters were at every desk. Color screens and keyboards are now the norm.
Concord District Court was the first location selected to begin the implementation process of converting all the courts from SUSTAIN to Odyssey. On January 23, the court “went live” and
began entering data. Nancy Ringland, supervisor of the criminal department, said
"the end result is wonderful."
"Docketing is much easier. The assignment of one docket number for all charges saves so much time entering case
information," Ringland said. She added "I love being able to view the calendar at a glance. No more scheduling
books.” Another great feature according to Ringland is having forms accessible while in the actual case and not having to switch to Word.
On April 25, the Hillsborough District Court was the second court location to begin using the Odyssey case management system. Clerk Lynn Plourde is pleased with the way it makes her work more efficient. “There are so many things that are done automatically now that you had to do manually in Sustain,” says Plourde. “Managing the calendar and scheduling hearings are much easier. Even the accounting system is not as complicated as before, “ according to Plourde. The CMS is scheduled to be launched in July in Henniker and New London District Courts and in Haverhill and Littleton District Courts in August.
The possibilities for Odyssey are endless in terms of increased public access to the courts using technology. E-filing, having the ability to search cases from other courts and public access terminals at all court locations are just a few of the future improvements the courts and the public will see with this new system.
While the “odyssey” towards a case management system has been long and arduous for the courts, there is finally a big payoff. Staff can enter and retrieve case information, schedule hearings and print notices easier, faster and more efficiently than ever before.
For more information on the deployment of Odyssey, go to the JIBB and click on AOC and then IT.
|Chief Justice John T. Broderick, Jr. at Concord District Court with Court Assistant Nancy Ringland
||New additions to the Odyssey project team join system analyst and programmer Sandy Wentworth, who is managing the statewide conversion from SUSTAIN. They are (l to r) Carolyn Spencer, Odyssey Project Member; Janet Haydon, Odyssey Project Leader;
Sandy Wentworth; Victoria McLean, Odyssey Project Member and Mike Pepin, Technical Trainer