U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) needed a way to forecast its detention bed space requirements, better manage its resources, and justify requests for additional staff, funding, and construction projects. In addition, it required a tool that would allow the organization to actively engage its data and develop strategic scenarios in response to dynamic changes in ICE operations and factors that affect illegal alien detention.
Fentress began working with ICE to develop a simulation model that forecasted the number of illegal alien detainees based upon the number of apprehensions, the number of agents, and detainee length of stay. The simulation model examined parameters such as nationality, offense type, and case type. To support the model and provide an effective planning tool to ICE, Fentress developed a scenario generator – a custom software application designed to run “what if” resource scenarios based upon the model’s parameters. For example, the scenario generator could quickly provide the estimated number of additional detention beds that would be needed in a given district or group of districts if a specific policy is pursued. This tool is a powerful aid for decision makers operating in a dynamic environment.
The simulation model reduced the complex operations of ICE detention into a manageable quantitative system flow. The scenario generator assisted ICE with managing its operational resources and responding to changes in the detention environment, including new initiatives or changes in manpower. It allowed ICE staff, with the push of a button, to easily and quickly assess detention-related outcomes based upon alternative personnel or apprehension assumptions. The program also provides key summary statistics of ICE data as well as mapping capabilities that graphically display the results of the model.