eTaskBoard for inmates
How we use the eTaskBoard software to be so
efficient, which makes our services so inexpensive.
As shown by the flowchart below, we begin by using our
eTaskBoard software's tutorial and test modules to train our prison
inmates to understand accessibility analysis and how to write the associated
recommendation reports. We use this process to also populate
eTaskBoard's Skillset Module reflecting the strengths and weaknesses of
each inmate analyst. This inmate workforce is restricted to about three dozen
inmates so the Coordinator retains a close working knowledge of their
individual characteristics. The human Coordinator will use that knowledge and
the skillset database later to help him assign tasks to the best matched
With the inmate workforce in place, eTaskBoard is
open for business. Prospective customers find Access2online across the
internet and decide they could use some affordable help making their website or
PDF documents accessible for the blind and visually impaired. A customer begins
by using their credit card, echeck, Paypal, etc. on an online form to open a
customer account with eTaskBoard's ecommerce layer, with of course all
such sensitive data encrypted.
Once approved to use their account to propose tasks, the
customer uses another online form to summarize their proposed task, what we
call a pre-task. He can attach PDF documents to be updated or link to web pages
to be analyzed. With Access2online's $49/hr rate in mind, the customer
can specify a maximum number of hours authorized for the pre-task, thus
bounding his exposure to a clear dollar amount. The customer can also specify a
required due date for the pre-task.
For repetitive tasks, perhaps from a web design firm for
their various clients, a customer can produce a task template and generate
proposed pre-tasks from that. Much faster than writing each pre-task with
similar pre-task descriptions.
Access2online's Coordinator next looks over the
customer's proposed pre-task, including to capture a copy of the customer's web
page(s). If the pre-task description is unclear or not feasible, the
Coordinator will request clarification from the customer. If the Coordinator
feels the authorized hours are insufficient or the due date too short, he will
accept the pre-task with those hours and date updated. Most of the time, the
Coordinator will accept the pre-task as is. The customer then changes the
status on the pre-task form to "Authorized" if he wishes to continue, and he
then has a mini-contract with Access2online to complete his task by the
due date within the hours authorized.
Using the skillset database and his own understanding of the
availability and specialties of his workforce, the Coordinator proposes the
task to an inmate or a parolee. The inmate learns of the proposed task and
receives all the data about the task, including the captured copy of the
customer's web page(s), through what we call the Sneakernet. The Sneakernet
maintains a secure barrier between inmates and the internet using one of these
- In its most basic form, the Coordinator uses
eTaskBoard to make a copy of the task data from his computer with
internet access, with web page attachments, onto a USB memory stick. He then
walks the USB memory stick (hence the term Sneakernet) over to an inmate's
computer without any access to the internet nor to a local area network -- no
wires beyond a power cable. The stand-alone component of eTaskBoard
resides on each inmate's computer, and this unpacks tasks from the USB memory
stick and packs deliverable work product back onto the USB memory stick. It
also manages local task operations.
- In its enhanced mode, all inmate computers are connected
to a local area network (LAN) also available to the Coordinator. Inmate access
on this LAN is restricted to one hard drive (physical or virtual) that serves
their local eTaskBoard software copy and provides a data directory where
tasks are uploaded and downloaded, along with their attachments, by the
Coordinator. This last step removes the need to carry a USB memory stick, along
with its lag, inconvenience, and security risk of being lost.
- In its most enhanced mode, inmates can access the
internet, but only through a router (physical box) controlled by the
Coordinator. This router allows internet access only to designated online
destinations identified by their IP address, a number unique to each domain on
every server. The default router setting is to allow inmate access to only one
online destination, the eTaskBoard server application software. An
inmate's attempt to access any different online destination, including through
eTaskBoard, displays an error message. This approach upgrades the
security capabilities of a LAN to the online security capabilities of a
physical router designed only for that purpose.
Note that parolees don't need any of the above techniques to
restrict access. They log into eTaskBoard from their homes as could any
teleworker and the Access2online customers.
While working their task, inmates can refer to
eTaskBoard's Knowledge Base, a searchable resource with standards like
WCAG 2.0, regulations such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, refresher
training materials, past solutions to complex problems, and details of
Access2online policies and procedures. Inmates can use
eTaskBoard's built-in timeclock to track how long they work a task, or
just enter it manually.
When an inmate changes a task status to developed,
eTaskBoard advises the Coordinator who then reviews the task deliverable
(recommendation report or modified PDF documents) for quality and compliance to
the task requirements. If he doesn't pass that, eTaskBoard returns
everything to the inmate for another try, along with the Coordinator's notes.
If the Coordinator approves the task deliverables, he changes the task status
to done, which triggers email to the customer. That email includes an embedded
link to the task data, along with its deliverable as an attachment.
Such done tasks also trigger the task's hours worked, up to
the hours authorized, to be multiplied by $49 and the result to be billed
against the customer's credit card or prepaid balance, along with a line item
entry to the customer's account showing all paid tasks. A similar entry is
appended to the inmate's and parolee's account, but the calculation is their
pre-arranged labor rate times the same hours worked. That labor rate is the
market rate for services similar to those performed by the parolee, which is
many times the labor rate of an inmate working for the prison. The parolee can
make a payment request at any time, typically twice a month, for all
accumulated funds in their account.
Inmates use the above payment account system to get used to
working in a task-based, results-oriented system. This prepares them to work as
teleworking parolees and serves as a performance metric reviewed with
management, but unlike parolees, it doesn't form the basis for the pay they
receive. State and federal law govern that to make sure inmates are not
exploited, but it may require pay deduction for things like court-ordered
victims restitution and child support.