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Lehigh University engineers win 2017 Wagner Prize for prison reassignment model

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Jorge Medina
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A "first-of-its-kind" optimization model developed by engineers at Lehigh University - in collaboration with Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections (PADOC) - has won the prestigious Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellent in Operations Research Practice for 2017.

According to a press release announcing the competition winner: "IADSS includes a new hierarchical multi-objective MILO model, which accurately describes the inmate assignment problem.

Awarded by INFORMS, the leading international association for Operations Research & Analytics professionals, the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice emphasizes the quality and coherence of the analysis used in practice.

In the long run, they say, the system could shorten prison stays and reduce recidivism--the rate at which released prisoners commit new crimes -- by giving inmates more timely access to the treatment programs they need to earn parole.

In a report released Sept. 1, PADOC officials said IADSS has enabled the corrections department to achieve cost savings and improvements in four areas:

Shorter waiting lists for treatment programs.

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