User's Guide to Key Indicators Version 4.x

Office of Research and Evaluation

October 15, 1998

Historical Perspective
KI/SSS Targets
KI/SSS Products
Installation of KI/SSS
KI/SSS Operations
KI/SSS Main Menu
Main Menu Pull Down Menus
Main Menu Speed Buttons
KI/SSS Target Setting Module
The Text Display Module
Display Module Pull Down Menus
Display Module Pop Up Menu
Graphic Display Module


History and Current Configuration

Key Indicators / Strategic Support System (KI/SSS) version 4.x is an in-house information delivery system of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All components of Key Indicators, other than the PRODAS data engine, are written and maintained by BOP personnel. Key Indicators was first distributed to a dozen selected BOP locations in June of 1989, as a prototype for an end user operated information retrieval and reports generation system. CD-ROM based distribution began one year later in June, 1990 with distribution to approximately 65 locations. It has been in continuous, uninterrupted, monthly publication since June 1989 and is currently sent to virtually all BOP locations with a monthly distribution of over 400 CD-ROM discs.

Nearly all information reported within Key Indicators (99%+) comes from the Bureau's existing operational data systems, such as SENTRY, FMIS and HRMIS. KI/SSS is also used to distribute the results of the Prison Social Climate Survey (PSCS), which is administered annually by the Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE). The only non-automated information sources used by KI/SSS reports are those items which have been specifically requested, but do not currently exist in an accessible automated form. Such items currently include the Correctional Services misconduct and urine surveillance information (both of which are in the process of being moved to an automated system), selected financial information, and a small number of components in the Executive Staff Management Indicators report.

KI/SSS version 4.x is designed to operate in the Windows 95/98 environment, and is a replacement for earlier versions of KI/SSS which ran in an MS-DOS environment. As a normal Windows 95 application, the KI/SSS user interface shares the common attributes of other Windows applications. This should help simplify the acclimation of a new user to Key Indicators since the operation of the application is based on the common Windows environment. One notable difference between version 4.x and earlier versions is the exclusive use of HTML formatting for all text reports. This is the same formatting technique as is used on Internet web sites, and provides for a nearly universal mechanism for controlling the presentation of text based information. HTML documents can readily be attached to e-mail and imported into word processing documents.

KI/SSS Targets and Target Setting - An Overview

Reports in Key Indicators are based on monthly accumulations of information that are typically referred to as "targets". A target in KI/SSS can be a high level summary, such as BOP overall, the overall totals for a given security level or region, or lower level summaries such as a single institution or mission within an institution. Missions within an institution are defined by the SENTRY categorizations of "Defined Facility Code" types. These include categories such as "General Population", "Work Cadre", "Drug Treatment Unit", etc. KI/SSS information is never presented at the individual inmate, or staff person, level. Whenever a menu item refers to "Facility", it is actually referring to one of these target items, which may be an overall institution summary, a mission within an institution, a high level summary, or even a staff only location such as a regional office or training center.

In addition to location, the user also specifies the time point for the desired information. The KI/SSS target setting facility allows the user to specify both a beginning and ending time point. For reports that represent a single point in time, the ending time point determines the date to be used. For reports that cover a span of time, or for which a summary over time is allowed, the span is defined by the period covered between the beginning time point and the ending time point.

Key Indicators currently provides data from roughly a ten year period. By default, time spans are limited to a 24 month maximum, but users can change this default. Time points in KI/SSS are often referred to as "YRMO"s. This is a reference to the Year + Month date construct which is used to identify time points (i.e. 199811, 199812, etc.). This type of construct provides an easy mechanism for properly sorting records by date, and is Y2K compliant. Whenever a menu item refers to "Month", it is actually referring to these individual time points.

Many KI/SSS retrievals are limited to 6 targets or less. This was originally a limit associated with the esthetics of Graphics production. In some cases, however, limiting the target count is necessary due to limitations imposed by the DOS based PRODAS data engine, when complex or large combinations of information elements are being requested. If a user is using a large target count and a retrieval fails to run properly, the user should reduce the target count to one and try the retrieval again. If it is successful, additional targets can be added one at a time until the maximum workable limit is reached. More specifics about setting targets will be presented in the section on use of the target setting facility.

KI/SSS Reports - An Overview

Reports in Key Indicators generally fall into one of three classes, Fact Sheets, Tabular Reports, and Graphics. Fact Sheets are typically notable for the high density of information on the page, incorporating a number of data elements for a single location and point in time. Tabular Reports are essentially tables of data element values for different points in time. Graphics are the line, bar, and pie chart representations of information. All KI/SSS reports can be printed or saved to disk for later reuse. All KI/SSS printed output is tagged with the location, date, and time of its' generation.

Fact sheets are typically generated for single target for a single point in time. Specifying multiple targets will result in generation of multiple Fact Sheets. Some specific Fact Sheet reports are capable of providing summary of information over time. When the "summerize over time" option is selected in "Display Options" dialog, such Fact Sheets will provide an indication of the number of time points in the summary, and each value on the report will be the sum total, or adjusted proportion, of the values for all the time points associated with the selected span. Some Fact Sheets may run to multiple pages. All Fact Sheet reports can be printed, or exported, in their entirety with a single command, regardless of the number of pages or sections.

A Tabular Report retrieval typically produces a single document, regardless of the number of targets or time points. An exception are those menu items which actually request multiple Tabular Reports with a single operation. These produce one document for each unique table in the request, independent of the number of selected targets or the time span involved. Regardless of the number of individual Tabular Reports generated, the entire set can be printed or exported with a single command. Tabular Reports are generally ordered by location ("Facility") or date ("Month"). When organized by location, all the time points for a location are listed before starting on the next location. When organized by time, the data for all locations is given for a single time point before moving to the next time point.

Although a number of KI/SSS Graphics are still generated using essentially the same mechanisms that have been used since Key Indicators began, a new graphics generator has recently been implemented. We will be replacing all old style KI/SSS graphics with ones using the new engine. over the next few months.

The original KI/SSS graphics were constructed using tools that were designed to produce charts on a Hewlett Packard pen plotter, with all components being constructed of straight line segments. Since the resolution of the typical PC monitor has many fewer points than are used in the pen plotter, the on the screen appearance of original style graphics tends to be a little rough (many locations have to be approximated). They generally look best when displayed as a maximized window on a high resolution monitor, but even that is not as good as their printed appearance, which is typically very good.

The new graphics engine uses native Windows graphics, and stores output as Windows metafiles. The text portions of the graphics use standard scalable fonts, with lines, shapes and fills generated using Windows graphics commands. As a result, output looks very good on both screen and printed products. We hope to finish the move to the new graphics generation mechanism in early 1999.

Regardless of the original graphic format, all KI/SSS graphics are now stored as Windows metafiles (.WMF). This means that they are readily importable into standard Windows applications. The current mechanism for generating the metafiles takes the users current screen settings into consideration, so that the .WMF file will always be properly sized for image being stored. KI/SSS graphics can also be exported as either enhanced metafiles (.EMF) or as JPEG compressed bitmaps (.gif).



Key Indicators requires a PC in good condition running Windows 95/98, with access to a KI/SSS CD-ROM image, and a license to use the PRODAS data management package. These are essentially the only requirements for a KI/SSS workstation. The PC can be a desktop or laptop, a Pentium or fast 486. The image can be accessed through a local CD-ROM reader, or through some LAN based shared access of a CD, or an image of the CD copied to LAN server. Memory requirements are no more stringent than for the average word processing application. It is suggested that real mode device drivers be avoided, since they reduce the amount of memory available to the MS-DOS box. You can verify your situation by opening an MS-DOS box under Windows, and using the "MEM" command. As long as the "Largest executable program size" is reported as 570K or higher, there should be no problems.

If the CD image is not being read from a local CD reader, the user must insure that the image location can be "root mapped". This means assigning a unique drive letter to the location of the CD image (such as the letter J:) in such a way that the root of the drive letter (J:\) is associated with the root of the CD image. For example, if the LAN administrator were placing the KI/SSS CD image at the location \\BOP_ADM\VOL1\APPS\KISSS\ , then the user would root map the drive letter, such as J:, so that J:\ pointed to \\BOP_ADM\VOL1\APPS\KISSS\. This way, J:\INSTALL would properly point to \\BOP_ADM\VOL1\APPS\KISSS\INSTALL . Your CSM can help with this task.

The drive letter used for Key Indicators access needs to be constant over time. Changing the drive letter for the CD image would mean that the user would need to re-install KI/SSS in order to properly set the user configuration files for the new letter. When a local CD reader is used, this is no problem. In a LAN setting, the LAN administrator could make the drive letter mapping part of the system login script, or the user could make use of the Windows LAN drive mapping facility, enabling the "reconnect at login" feature.

The only time consuming part of a KI/SSS install is the loading of the PRODAS files, which takes a total of two or three minutes. This operation is only executed on the first installation for a given workstation. Any subsequent installs on that work station typically take only a few seconds.

The Installation Process

Assuming that the CD image is available as a drive letter, no further preparation is required before installation. The user can either access the "Run" option of the "Start" menu, or directly browse the CD image to locate the installation program . It is located in the "\install" directory of the CD and is named SETUPWKI.EXE.

Run this program. The only information the user should need to enter is the workstation ID number. This is an identifier that is used to uniquely identify the various BOP locations, and can be obtained via the KI/SSS hotline if it is not currently known. Users should record this number for future use. Once the workstation ID number is entered, the user can select a preferred location for the "STARTKI" shortcut icon. It can be placed on the "Start" menu, the "Desktop", or in both locations. Clicking the "OK" button starts the installation process.

The initial process completes very quickly. If PRODAS wasn't already installed then that step begins automatically. The user will need to click on the "next" button once each on two different dialog panels during that process. Note that there may be a delay of a few seconds following the button click before anything is seen to happen.

Key Indicators is now ready to run!

Operating Key Indicators


The modules that make up the Key Indicators application provide:

The modules within Key Indicators are independent applications that can coexist on the desktop. For example, opening the target selection module does not close the retrieval selection menu module. More than one instance of a module can be opened at the same time. For example, the user can run a new text retrieval without closing an already open text display module. This permits viewing the output of multiple retrievals simultaneously. A Graphic can be generated while still maintaining a fact sheet display on-screen, or multiple Graphic retrievals could be viewed simultaneously for comparative purposes.

That said, It is definitely not a good idea to open multiple instances of the retrievals menu at the same time (i.e. using the StartKI icon while KI/SSS is already running). Trying to run simultaneous retrievals from multiple instances of the menu could easily lead to temporary file name conflicts and damaged reports or system hangups, since all sessions would be trying to share the same workspace. It is also probably not a good idea, under most normal circumstances, to leave multiple copies of the target selection module open at the same time.

The Retrievals Menu Module

The Retrievals Menu (also know as the Main Menu) is the central KI/SSS component. It is the first module seen after the splash screen. This is the location where the user can set options and generate products. There are three parts to this module; top, middle and bottom. The top section has the regular Windows pull-down menus and the Graphically labeled speed buttons. The middle section is the retrievals menu panel, which contains the actual menu text. The bottom section contains the item information panel, which displays information about the currently highlighted menu item, and, at the very bottom, the status line, which provides information about the item which the mouse is currently touching .

The items displayed within the Retrievals Menu depend on the menu which is currently loaded. Available menus include the normal institution mode menu (the system default), a community corrections menu, a documents menu, and a wardens quick menu. All alternative menus are accessible from the default institution mode menu in a fashion that is effectively transparent to the user.

All items within the menu are displayed in a color coded fashion. Section headings are white, navigation items are blue, and action items are yellow. Navigation items are linkages to the named section, a double click will move the menu's focus to that section. Action items are menu items that result in viewing a document, generating a report or Graphic, or moving to a different menu. In addition to clicking on navigation items, the user can also traverse the menu tree by sequentially entering the desired menu item number (i.e. go to menu item 123-5 by pressing 1,2,3,5).

In the top section, the user finds the pull-down menus and the speed buttons:

The Pull-down Menus

The Files menu contains the entries:

The Info menu contains the entries:

The Targets menu contains one item:

The Batch Ops menu contains the entries:

The Options menu contains the entries:

The Prototypes menu currently contains one entry:

The Help menu currently contains the entries :

The Speed Buttons

The Target Selection button activates the KI/SSS Target Setting Module, permitting the user to specify one or more targets, and the time point(s) of interest for subsequent retrievals.

The Home (go to top of menu) button returns the users menu to the original starting point.

The Go Back One Level button takes the user's retrieval focus to the immediately prior section level. If the focus is some where below the header of the current section, the focus goes to the header for the current section. If the focus is on a section header, it is moved to the header of that section's parent level. (i.e. focus on item 123-5 gets moved to header 123; focus on header 123 gets moved to header 12).

The Item Search button opens a search dialog that permits the user to search for a menu item that contains a key word or phrase. The search is not case sensitive (Capitalization doesn't make a difference). The key word is retained for additional searching without re-entering the information. Searching is always "top down", repeated searching will potentially wrap around to the beginning again.

The Go To Specific Item button opens a dialog that permits the user to specify a retrieval menu item number (i.e. 123-5). This is little used anymore as the menu now responds directly to progressive menu ID entry (i.e. enter the numbers 1 2 3 5).

The Tag for Batch button will tag (or untag) the currently focused menu item as part of a batch job list. This button only becomes enabled when the focus is on a retrieval item.

The View/Don't View DOS Messages button toggles between the options of running with the DOS box minimized during retrievals (the default) and running with it open during retrievals. Viewing the progress messages during a retrieval can be helpful in trouble shooting.

The Execute button is an alternative to double clicking on a menu item.

The Run Chained (Batch) Operations button is only enabled when one or more retrieval items are currently tagged for batched running. It is used to initiate the chained retrieval operation. The actions taken during the batch process are controlled by the current settings found under the Batch Ops menu.

The Cancel Chained (Batch) Operations button is only enabled when one or more items are currently tagged for batched running. Clicking on this button will clear the tags from all items. If a batch job is currently running, clicking on this button both abort the batch operation and clear all tags.

The View Stored Graphics button invokes the WinKIPlot application for viewing / printing KI/SSS Graphics previously stored in the C:\KIPLOTS directory.

The PSCS Viewer button is now enabled for all BOP workstations. It activates the Prison Social Climate Survey (PSCS) Viewer. This application has data for multiple administrations of the PSCS at all BOP locations where it was administered. The PSCS Viewer is an interactive mechanism for exploring a given institution's staff's response patterns, not only for the "all respondents" category, but also for 30+ sub categories of staff, for any or all of the survey items, using the "within institution" operations.

In "across institution" mode, the viewer provides a mechanism for identifying institutions at the high and / or low end of the favorable response continuum, not only for the "all respondents" but also for any of the 30+ sub categories of staff. Searching can be done on any of the survey items, or on user constructed composite categories.

The Help button provides a linkage to the retrieval module portion of the KI/SSS user guide.

The Exit button can be used to close Key Indicators.

The Target Setting Modules

(Institution Mode and Community Corrections)

The target setting module can be invoked from either the Target Selection button or the Targets pull-down menu. There are two main versions: the institution target module and the community corrections target module. The community corrections target module allows the user to select from a standard list of all potential targets. The institution target module allows the user to constrain the list of potential targets to reflect current interests. The target modules have three major component areas: the date selection area, the selected targets panel and the target characteristics panel (institution module) or the available targets panel (community corrections module). The module type (institution mode vs. community corrections) is controlled by the current menu in effect. Selecting the Community Corrections entry from the default menu will load the community corrections menu.

The main difference between institution mode target setting and community corrections mode target setting is the use of an expandable list to organize the institution mode target list, constructed of those targets which meet the current criteria. Selections from this list are made by clicking on the items' checkbox until selecction is complete, then pressing the "add selections" button. The expand and collapse buttons affect all target items in the target selection panel and control whether the user is viewing only the overall institution target, or the full list of institution components. The community corrections mode target list is made up of the regional aggregates, followed by the contract category aggregates, followed by a straight, alphabetical listing of available targets.

The Date Selection Area

The date selection area allows the user to specify starting and ending time points for KI/SSS reports and consists of three sections: Starting Date, Max Span, and Ending Date. The date sections are made up of a month selection box and a year selection box. All user selections are accomplished with the mouse. The user clicks on the up and down arrows for each item in order to increment or decrement the current value.

The Max Span setting controls the maximum number of months permitted between Starting Date and Ending Date. It defaults to 24 months, but is a user adjustable item. If incrementing the Ending Date would result in a time span greater than Max Span, the Starting Date is incremented to maintain the set interval. If decrementing the Starting Date would result in a greater than Max Span period, the decrement is not permitted to occur.

All single month KI/SSS reports are based on the Ending Date setting. When a new CD is loaded, the initial setting of the Ending Date matches the most recent data availability date. The target selection module will not permit ending dates to be set to a more recent date than the month prior to the current calendar month.

The Selected Targets Panel

The selected targets panel displays those items currently selected as targets. Please note that items shown here do not become the actual Key Indicators targets until they are applied as targets.

The Selected Targets Buttons

Display the target setting module portion of the KI/SSS user guide.

All items in the selected targets panel will be removed.

The currently highlighted item in the selected targets panel will be removed.

A Favorites entry will be created consisting of all items in the selected targets panel.

A list of user Favorites entries will be listed. All items associated with the selected entry will be listed in the available targets panel for potential selection.

A "favorites" entry called "last session" is created automatically when the target module is closed. This permits the user to restore the targets from their last session after starting KI/SSS on a subsequent day.

The Target Characteristics Choices

If the user is happy working with the full BOP target list, then they do not need to make any changes to the target characteristics checkboxes and can immediately make use of the "Show Target List" button.

The grouped checkboxes at the bottom of the institution target module are used to determine which targets will be listed on the Available Targets Panel. Left in its default configuration, the available targets panel will contain all current BOP locations and aggregates in alphabetical order.

Removing the checkmark from a checkbox removes targets meeting that characteristic from the target list (e.g. remove the check from the box marked "Minimum" and you remove all minimum security level institutions and aggregates from the target list). Adding a checkmark adds the corresponding target items to the available targets list. A right mouse click will open a pop-up menu permitting the checking or unchecking of all items within the group.

The Target Characteristics Checkbox Groups

The checkbox groupings fall into six major categories:

The boxes here relate to the assignment of the potential targets in regard to the BOP region. Sites not associated with a specific region (e.g. The aggregate of all BOP institutions, NIC, Glynco, etc.) can be found at the national level.

Based on current institution population. Is the target housing males only, females only, or both males and females? Overall facility targets are the only targets which are characterized as "mixed gender". Institution mission components are associated exclusively with a single gender.

Whether the facility maintained by the BOP, or whether it is run by some other entity.

Targets may be associated with any of the current or prior (obsolete) security level designations. The "Not Assigned" category is typically associated with institutions that have not yet started receiving inmates, and whose mission components have not yet been assigned a security level. Note that individual institution mission components may not always have the same security level as the overall institution classification.

Key Indicator targets can be inmate locations, staff-only locations (e.g. Regional Offices, Training Centers, etc.), or aggregations of individual targets within grouping categories such as region, security level, facility classification, or BOP overall.

These are the SENTRY based facility classifications, such as Detention Centers, Medical Centers, In-Transit, Penitentiary, etc. These characterizations are made at the overall institution level and are shared by all its mission components. (For example, a satellite camp at a Penitentiary will have a Facility Class of Penitentiary, not Camp). Please note that the "Administrative" Facility Class indicates a staff location, this box must be marked as well as the "Staff Loc." box in order to have access to staff location targets.

This should remain checked if the user wants to select locations base on the overall characteristics of the various locations. When checked, only the overall facility target will need to meet the current settings for all itself and all its mission components to be included in the available targets list. If this box is not checked, only those overall and mission level component meeting the current target characteristics settings will be listed.

The Target Characteristics Buttons

Removes all checkmarks from all profile items except the "Use Overall Facility Characteristics" item.

Adds checkmarks to all profile items except the "Obsolete" and "Not Assigned" item.

The Available Targets Button

Displays an available targets list based on the current settings. The button is red when the list contains no targets, green when it contains one or more.

The Target Profile and Apply Targets Buttons

Allows the user to save the current checkbox settings under a target profile name of their choice.

Allows the user to load one of their previously saved profiles. all checkboxes will be updated to match the stored settings.

A "profile" entry called "last session" is created automatically when the target module is closed. This permits the user to restore the checkbox profile from their last session after starting KI/SSS on a subsequent day.

Makes the current target specification available for use by KI/SSS retrievals.

Makes the current target specification available for use by KI/SSS retrievals and closes the target selection module.

Closes the target selection module without applying any changes

If the user uses the Apply Targets or Apply Targets and Exit button while the selected targets panel is blank, the BOP Overall will be applied as a default target.

The Available Targets Panel (institution module)

The Available Targets Panel is a popup form on the institution module, and a component of the main form on the community corrections module.

In The institution module, items with a "+" at the extreme left can be double-clicked to view a list of institution components. Clicking on the box to the left of a target places an "X" in the box, indicating that you want to include that item in the selected targets list when you close the available targets panel.

The Text Display Module

The text display module within Key Indicators is, basically, a frames capable HTML browser with additional features that are specific to the Key Indicators environment. The HTML document tagging specification permits control over text appearance, the inclusion of Graphics, and the use of hypertext links to additional text or documents. The module itself has only one major area in addition to the pull-down menus, and that is the text display panel.

Within the text display panel, KI/SSS reports may be displayed in one or more frames. In effect, frames are views into the different documents parts that make up the report. The frame most recently clicked on by the mouse is considered the active document. When multiple frames are present in the text display panel, it is the active document that is the subject of any requested

action, such as export or printing. In addition to the pull-down menus at the top of the module, a right button mouse click on the text display panel will open a pop-up menu that contains options associated with the active document.

The Pull-down Menus

The Pull-down menus include:




The Pop-up Menu