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Process Abandonment, Wrongful Detention

Sunday, February 15, 2009 by Slaughter Development

Legal immigrants in Australia are supposed to receive letters from the government letting them know the status of their visa. For one unfortunate man however, the mail was never sent, leaving him wrongfully imprisoned for five years.

Due to a broken process, Tony Tran, a law-abiding immigrant, suffered devastating circumstances that went above and beyond his wrongful imprisonment. According to the report in The Age, he also lost his son, was severely beaten by another detainee and has suffered continual health problems ever since. This unfortunate story spotlights a harsh truth to the effects of failed systems. From the article:

Tony Tran, now 35, was taken into detention in December 1999 after the department believed it had notified him that his bridging visa had been canceled years before.

The Methodology Blog often reviews cases where citizens have been mistreated by justice systems due to a breakdown in procedures. As seen in this story as well as Justice in Jamaica and Less Than Due Process, everyday aspects of workflow can dramatically impact people’s lives if not resolved. In this particular situation, it’s not a question of immigration policy, but actually following the procedures that are in place:

Mr. Tran had not received the letter warning him about his status, an apparent breach of the procedure necessary before taking a person into detention.

Slaughter Development helps organizations of all sizes address such issues, not through a top-down systemic evaluation, but through individual analysis and engagement of employees. We are most interested in working with front-line managers and workers who interact with customers, customer products and company information systems. We believe that working together with a business, non-profit or government to develop effective models is the key component in helping enable change and reduce the risks of procedural failure. Your operation may not be sending letters that keep people out of prison, but if you do believe there are ways to improve how you get work done everyday, consider reaching out to Slaughter Development.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Wrongful Foreclosure - The Methodology Blog has previously discussed process errors that drastically impact unsuspecting people. Likewise, today’s topic on accidental housing foreclosures highlights the aftermath which follows unstable systems. Read on »
Less than Due Process - Police in Queensland, Australia, are releasing some criminals on bail rather than holding them in custody. The new computer records system is so slow and convoluted, officers are even reluctant to make arrests for fear of having to use the application. Read on »
You Owe Four Cents - Now that tax day has come and gone, millions of Americans hope they have completed their taxes correctly. One man in California, however, suffered the penalty of underpayment. Read on »
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