SAS-Generated Balanced Scorecards Improve Insight For Better Decisions

Improving performance of prison management

The Ghent Correctional Facility in Belgium decided to upgrade its overall management performance regarding both employees and inmates. It developed a strategic plan with concrete key performance indicators (KPI) to achieve its objectives. The organization follows up on the implementation of these KPIs through balanced scorecards generated by SAS® for Performance Management. The system provides the facility’s management with clear insight anytime, anywhere, and at low investment cost.


SAS gives detailed insight into the evolution of KPIs, providing management the information to reach the right strategic decisions

Philippe Cryns
management assistant

Following up on the strategic plan

The Ghent Correctional Facility is a medium-sized prison in Belgium, detaining approximately 340 men and 45 women. The facility mainly serves as a house of detention. About 60% of the inmates are awaiting trial, 20% are convicted felons, and the final 20% are detained in the psychiatric ward. The prison employs over 250 people.

In the light of the Copernicus Reform induced by the Belgian federal government, the facility committed itself to improving efficiency, performance, effectiveness, and the quality of its care services. To achieve this, the prison has established a strategic plan with concrete KPIs. “Our strategic plan is aimed at, among other things, improving our overall performance regarding our employees. For instance, we are endeavoring to increase participation and job satisfaction for all of our staff,” states Philippe Cryns, management assistant at the Ghent Correctional Facility. “We also strive to improve our performance regarding inmates. To give an example, we ensure that all of our detainees receive appropriate daily care and hygiene, for instance, providing them with soap. In the next phase, we will also incorporate KPIs to improve our services to visitors.” The facility follows its performance on the various KPIs through balanced scorecards. “We chose SAS® for Performance Management in order to generate balanced scorecards. It offered us the most appropriate and comprehensive system,” adds Cryns.

Better decisions based on better knowledge

The SAS system supports management in making the right decisions to achieve all of the KPIs stated in the strategic plan. "The balanced scorecards are often projected during management meetings. With graphs, color schemes, and percentages, they clearly visualize the prison’s performance per KPI," states Cryns.

In addition, the SAS system is extremely flexible. Information inside the system can easily be exported to other software packages such as MS Excel for further analysis. Cryns notes that in addition, the content of the system is simple and adaptable. For instance, the KPIs in the system can be fine-tuned based on the self evaluation results from all of the prison’s staff members. "In this way the system can evolve along with us, taking into account new desires and expectations."

New strategic decisions generate results

The system has already proven its worth. One of the main focus areas in the strategic plan is improving team spirit. "We want to create an atmosphere where colleagues can count on each other," explains Cryns. "Not all prison staff members are keen on filling in for their colleagues and call in sick to get out of it."

Management decided to install new procedures to fight absenteeism. "As soon as the unauthorized absentees return to work, they are invited for a meeting with their team leader, a member of management, and the director of personnel," says Cryns. "Using balanced scorecards, we are able to monitor whether these meetings go through as planned and if all related people are present. Since we started measuring two years ago, absenteeism among members of the prison staff has decreased by 33.5%."

High accessibility at low cost

Along with its effectiveness, the system holds other advantages as well. It did not require any large-scale investments in hardware and software. It was installed and is managed locally, giving our users access to the scorecards anytime, anywhere. Cryns: "The SAS system is accessible through our Web site. With our own secure personal login and password, we can access all of the information from any PC with an Internet connection."

In addition, the system’s central organization makes it extremely flexible. Adaptations are quickly made. "New users can easily be added," says Cryns. "Currently the use of balanced scorecards is being tested in six Belgian prisons and two testing centers within the Belgian Federal Department of Justice. In time, we want to expand the scope and involve all Belgian correctional facilities in the system. Moreover, we can easily add new KPIs. This supports our plan to align the strategic plans of all Belgian prisons in the future, creating similar KPIs along with site-specific KPIs in order to increase comparability."

Today the system is only accessible to a limited number of people. But as one of the objectives in the strategic plan mentions, it is the organization’s desire to closely involve all staff members. "Currently, we are still discussing how to communicate our performance on key objectives to our staff members. Not all of them have access to a computer so we need to find another effective method of getting the information to them on a regular basis. In other words, we still have some work cut out for us," concludes Cryns.

Correctional Facility Ghent

Ghent Correctional Facility


Improving performance regarding both employees and prisoners


SAS® for Performance Management


SAS clearly visualizes the performance on various predefined KPIs enabling management to take the appropriate strategic actions.

Key Facts

  • SAS® for Performance Management enables management of the Ghent Correctional Facility to follow up on KPI progress via balanced scorecards
  • Detailed insight has led to effective strategic decisions with absenteeism among prison staff decreased by more than 33 per cent
  • Web-based system guarantees access anytime, anywhere for a low investment cost
The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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