Over 52,000 immigrants are currently being detained in over 200 detention jails across the United States. Only 14% of them will be represented by an attorney when they plead their case in immigration court. Detainees with an attorney are twice as likely to obtain relief than those without counsel. Our project aims to create a scalable solution to enable detained immigrants to efficiently contact legal service providers, and relay sensitive information to draft a legal case. Currently, detainees call detention lifelines, where volunteers walk them through the list of 37 Current Intake Questions for Telephonic Intakes and manually input the information into the case database management system. We were inspired to tackle this issue through a low cost and scalable method, with the ability to transfer collected data between systems.
What it does
iBridge focuses on bridging the gap between detainees and attorneys by collecting information from detention lifelines and automatically inputting it to a case database management system. We begin by asking what language the caller prefers to speak in, then ask the 37 Current Intake Questions for Telephonic Intakes in the detainee's chosen language. Using Twilio, we play recordings of humans reading the questions so detainees can feel more connected to a real person's voice instead of a robot's monotonous drone. Using Twilio's and Google Cloud's voice-to-text API, we can record the information from the detainee and input it in our Google Cloud SQL database. We record each call and link it to the database as well so attorneys can review questions where the voice-to-text may have small errors. We also created a front-end web app component for attorneys to view the list of detainees who called. Attorneys can click on a detainee's name to view more information about the detainee on an easy-to-print web page.
How we built it
Using Twilio's API, we were able to play recordings of our own voices in different languages depending on the language each given detainee prefers to speak in.
Challenges we ran into
We initially had a difficult time learning to use Twilio's technology, especially when integrating our voice recordings of the Current Intake Questions for Telephonic Intakes and recording responses from the phone. Since Twilio was not a sponsor at this hackathon, we could not ask any of their company's representatives for assistance, which made everything more difficult. Our Google skills were tested as we checked for solutions to our problems.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud to have figured out how to use the Twilio API, set up a Google Cloud SQL database, and innovate through this project to help immigrant detainees find attorneys.