Congratulations to the American Correctional Association (ACA) for hosting another successful Congress of Corrections event in Indianapolis, Ind. The team from PowerDMS caught up with some old friends and made a number of new ones as well. Along the way we shared why we do what we do, and how online document management helps agencies with everything from accreditation and training, to policy management and version control. Agencies were intrigued to hear how they can do all this while saving a great deal of time, money and resources.

We kept our ears open and while we knew a couple of the following hot topics would be discussed at the conference, there were a few items we did not anticipate.

Patterns of Practice:

“Patterns of practice” refers to how your agency handles things on a daily routine. The days of printing and reprinting policies when changes occur have long since gone. This was a highly wasteful way to get things done, as it was laborious, time consuming and used up precious resources that cost agencies money. Moving the process online greatly reduces the amount of waste generated while speeding up the workflows. This one part of the equation alone can save agencies tens of thousands of dollars in a surprisingly short amount of time.


It should go without saying, the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) was a wake up call to correctional facilities across the U.S. However, it was only last year, after years of research, Commission hearings and the issuing of the Attorney General’s approved PREA standards, that many states started to fully integrate these policies and procedures. Even with a five percent penalty in their federal funding, some states have decided they already have enough laws and processes in place to help eliminate acts of abuse in their systems. Most have cited their reasons for not seeking accreditation as a lack of funding and manpower. If these states moved their processes online, they could easily start to save money on the resources used, gain accreditation and ultimately get that five percent of federal funding back.

Changes to Appendix D – Hazardous Material Labeling:

This last topic popped up as a bit of a surprise, but will most certainly impact how facilities handle their hazardous materials. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new requirements that all hazardous chemicals shipped after June 1, 2015 must be labeled with specific elements. These elements include pictograms and signal words, as well as hazard and precautionary statements. Additionally, shipping labels for any hazardous chemicals must include the name, address and telephone number of the shipper or other responsible party clearly on the label.

We really enjoyed our time at the ACA conference and hope it was equally successful for those of you in attendance. We firmly believe moving to an online solution is the future of document management and all of us here at PowerDMS are firmly behind this mission. If you’re intrigued about how PowerDMS can benefit your organization or have any questions, give us a shout or schedule a demo.