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Current Practices in Information Integration

Information integration at the State Level

In this section, three state level information integration initiatives are presented. The three cases are exemplary examples of integration in the criminal justice enterprise at the state level. This section briefly describes each of these three initiatives.

Colorado


Goals of the Program: The Colorado Integrated Criminal Justice Information System (CICJIS) is a program that helps criminal justice agencies share information. The goal of criminal justice information sharing in Colorado is getting the right information to the right people at the right time and place. To that end, CICJIS has at least four related sub- goals: to improve public safety by making more timely, accurate, and complete information available statewide to all criminal justice decision makers; to improve productivity of staff (reducing redundant data entry, collection, and storage efforts, as well as related paper processing); to enhance access to and quality of information; and to provide statistically reliable information.

Brief Description: CICJIS is a seamless criminal justice information sharing program that incorporates several agencies as primary participants and federal and local government through the primary participants. CICJIS maximizes standardization of data and communications technology among law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, the courts, and state-funded corrections for adult and youth offenders. The initial program scope included all felony and juvenile cases, as well as all case types for warrants and restraining orders. The information integration initiative valued the existing autonomy and platforms of involved agencies; therefore each participant maintained its own legacy system and ownership of its information. CICJIS facilitates information sharing by electronically moving data from one agency to the next and by providing query access on other systems. The annual CICJIS budget line is approximately $1 million and another $200-400,000 comes from grants.

Key Players: A Statutory Commission of the Legislature appears to be the most important player in the initial successful development of CICJIS. Before expiring in 1994, the commission arranged for all agencies involved to testify before the legislature as to why integration still did not exist. This was the catalyst to start this comprehensive integration initiative. There were three additional relevant players involved in the initial development of CICJIS: the Information Management Committee, the Executive Policy Board, and the CICJIS Task Force. Now that the program has been in production for five years and is a success, expansion opportunities are being considered. New key players are the Program Director/CIO, Task Force, Executive Policy Board, and the Business and Technical Teams.

CSFs and Results: CICJIS was developed in less than four years (from 1995 to 1998). Several performance measures were established by the Legislature. One of the initial success factors for Colorado was the state legislature’s support and oversight. The primary success factor continues to be the State’s disposition match rate that started at a mere 8-12% but is now 89% statewide. Ongoing success requires maintenance and support of the system and projects to further enhance information sharing opportunities. The initial CICJIS design was comprehensive but may no longer meet the scalability and reliability requirements of the program. While maintaining the business rules and standards, CICJIS is converting its solution to a Web services environment utilizing Justice XML.

Challenges and Future Plans: Future plans include enhancing existing queries, value add to query results, registering sex offenders earlier in the criminal justice process (at conviction), and expansion opportunities both inside and outside of the criminal justice enterprise. The CICJIS program is developing enhancement requirements to meet homeland security information sharing needs, while integrating additional agencies for both criminal justice and homeland security goals. The State is looking at using the CICJIS program information-sharing model as a statewide standard. Challenges include lack of funding and current system solution scalability and relative high maintenance costs. Previous data integrity challenges have been significantly reduced with a database design change and a complete rewrite of the data and referential integrity rules.

Delaware


Goals of the Project: The main goal of the Delaware Justice Information System (DELJIS) is to create an integrated information environment that will expand services to agencies and individual criminal justice professionals and workers by providing accurate and timely information that can be shared across participants.

Brief Description: In 1984, the Information Systems Plan of the Criminal Justice System of the State of Delaware was released for dissemination. The formal launching of DELJIS was dated in 1990, when the courts’ Disposition Reporting System merged with the Computerized Criminal History. Currently, users are able to instantly determine the status of a case, thus enhancing the ability to process criminal cases in a more efficient way. Through the system, users can share criminal history, warrant, and case information. The system also considers extensive use of videophones for many purposes, and as a result users have gained some organizational efficiencies. DELJIS has had financial support from federal and state agencies. Creating and improving the system cost approximately $10 million since 1982. Currently, the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System contains comprehensive information from law enforcement to courts and corrections.

Key Players: The State Legislature was the most important player in the development of DELJIS, the agency that oversees the criminal justice information system. In addition, the board of managers of DELJIS continues to offer suggestions for improvement and next steps for the system.

CSFs and Results: DELJIS can be described as using a well-planned incremental approach. One of the most important factors that helped Delaware to be successful in information integration was user involvement. Identification of users’ needs was a difficult and time-consuming task for the DELJIS staff, but the results were very good. User involvement in the design phase of the system, followed by adequate user training seemed to be a successful strategy in this case. In addition, the relatively small geographic size and limited number of local agencies were also organizational characteristics that facilitated the integration effort. Another factor to take into consideration was the partnership with Troop Two of the Delaware State Police. Their support was essential in getting other law enforcement agencies to accept the Automated Warrant System. Currently, the board of managers conducts annual evaluations of the plan. Its initial firmly outlined scope and strategic vision helped to achieve results and continue selling the integration idea to more and more agencies.

Challenges: There are several challenges that the system has to overcome. Information quality is still a problem for DELJIS. Second, probably as a result of their incremental approach, not all important agencies are participating in the system. As a consequence, important information is not shared among the justice community. The composition of the board of managers is not homogeneous. Some of the members are technical staff that cannot fully represent the strategic view of their respective agencies. In addition, it is still necessary to create common standards and to enhance searching capabilities.

Future Plans: Delaware is converting several mainframe applications into client/server applications. They are also investing in applications to support credit card payments through the Internet (ticket fines). They are working with the Delaware State Police to electronically record accident reports, and to merge data from that report directly into an electronic ticket which will be uploaded from the police vehicle to the appropriate court.

Pennsylvania


Goals of the Project: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) has the goal of enhancing public safety by providing a common on-line environment whereby authorized state, county, and local officials can access offender records and other criminal justice information from participating agencies. A related objective is to increase staff productivity by promoting cost-effectiveness, and to reduce redundancy and errors.

Brief Description: In 1995, the Pennsylvania Improved Management Performance and Cost Control Task Force reported over 400 different ways to reduce costs, increase accountability, and improve service. One year later the IT Strategic Planning Initiative was announced. JNET started as a collective project between several state agencies, but it has since added counties, municipalities and local police departments. Currently, JNET is a statewide effort in which about 32 commonwealth agencies, 36 counties, and 250 municipal police departments are participating. In addition, 9 Federal agencies are also accessing Pennsylvania justice information. The JNET system uses a Web-browser interface that allows agencies to share different types of information. In using the system each agency has control of its own data, and it can decide its level of information sharing. JNET has received funding from sources such as the Governor’s Administration Office and the U.S. Department of Justice. The estimated total budget for 2002 was $12.5 million.

Key Players: The Governor’s Office and each contributing agency have played a significant role in the development and improvements of the system. The JNET Executive Council is also an important player. It has members from each of the governing agencies and can be considered the governance structure of the state’s information integration initiative.

CSFs and Results: In 2002, JNET won a national award from the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils. Ensuring agency independence was a key factor in enhancing cooperation among involved organizations. Another important factor was the use of private sector technical knowledge in the development of the integration initiative. Outsourcing technological support to companies such as BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) and Diverse Technologies Corporation helped avoid some technology-related problems. In addition, the JNET governance structure includes people from several agencies. The IT Strategic Planning Initiative was also a factor in the successful development of the endeavor.

Challenges: The main challenge to JNET’s efforts is budget constraints. In addition, the JNET Executive Council has not finalized a structure for the necessary decision-making processes.

Future Plans: JNET is planned to be deployed statewide by 2004.

Table 4. State Overview

State
 
Integration Approach
 
Start Date
 
Levels of Government
 
Governance Structure
 
Funding
 
Colorado
 
Comprehensive / Systemic Capacity
 
1995
 
Statewide
 
Yes
 
Funded by State Legislature
 
Delaware
 
Incremental / Systemic Capacity
 
1990
 
Statewide
 
Yes
 
Received funding from federal and state agencies
 
Pennsylvania
 
Comprehensive / Systemic Capacity
 
1996
 
Not yet statewide, Counties, municipalities, and Federal agencies are participating
 
Yes
 
Received funding from the Governor’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice