RD443 - Interim Report on the Feasibility of Implementing an Integrated Criminal Justice System Web Portal - December 1, 2015
"The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Administration and Technology, shall review the feasibility of implementing an integrated criminal justice system web portal for the purpose of securely disseminating information to federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies. Such a web portal would be intended to provide real-time access to information residing in the data systems of the respective agencies participating in the web portal, through a single secure point of entry. Consideration shall be given to the experience of other states in implementing web portals for similar purposes; the potential value to be gained from sharing information in Virginia’s criminal justice system; the potential for supporting the costs for such a web portal through agency fees; and the costs, benefits, potential revenues, and time frames for implementing such a system. A preliminary report, including initial findings and recommendations, shall be presented to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees by December 1, 2015." — Item 376 #1c of the 2015 Budget Bill
DCJS conducted the above study by doing the following:
• Reviewing previous Virginia government reports on the need for improved sharing of criminal justice information, and lessons learned from previous Virginia criminal justice data sharing efforts.
• Reviewing recent and ongoing statewide criminal justice data sharing initiatives in other states (Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) to identify approaches used by these states, and lessons learned concerning time frames, governance, costs and benefits, and funding mechanisms.
• Reviewing major criminal justice data systems maintained by Virginia agencies containing information that might be shared through an integrated criminal justice information system, including systems maintained by the Departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and State Police; by the Supreme Court of Virginia; and the Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LInX).
• Reviewing current Virginia government data sharing initiatives which are addressing various issues relevant to improving data sharing between Virginia state and local government agencies.
Based on the information gained from the reviews above, the conclusions and recommendations below are made concerning the feasibility of implementing an integrated criminal justice system web portal.
1. The need for better sharing of criminal justice information among criminal justice agencies has been documented repeatedly by the Commonwealth’s Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches for nearly 30 years. The lack of data sharing has been cited as contributing to inefficiencies in law enforcement, corrections, court operations, juvenile services, victim’s services, substance abuse prevention, school and campus violence, firearms violence, and domestic and sexual violence.
2. Virginia has made incremental improvements in data sharing between criminal justice and public safety agencies. However, past data sharing initiatives focused mainly on improving data sharing between a few agencies for specific, limited purposes. They were not developed within the context of moving Virginia public safety toward an effective, integrated criminal justice data system.
3. Virginia’s public safety and judicial agencies now maintain sophisticated information system which collect and store the types of information that could be shared through an integrated system. However, these systems are not designed to easily exchange information in a way that would support an integrated criminal justice information system.
4. The information systems now maintained by Virginia’s public safety and criminal justice agencies and organizations can serve as a starting point for developing an integrated criminal justice information system.
5. Other states have made significant progress in developing systems to share and integrate public safety and criminal justice information. Their experience can help guide Virginia’s similar effort.
6. Virginia already has several initiatives underway to improve the sharing and use of data between different secretariats and agencies. These can be leveraged to help guide efforts to better share and use criminal justice data.
1. Recognize that sharing and integrating data in Virginia’s current criminal justice information systems is a long-term project. It cannot be accomplished quickly. Furthermore, if the system is to be maintained, a long-term funding mechanism must be established.
2. Development of an integrated criminal justice information system should not be viewed or managed as a technology project. It should be viewed and managed as a project to improve the business processes of the Commonwealth’s public safety and criminal justice system.
3. Developing an integrated criminal justice information system will require the cooperative efforts of all branches and all levels of government. Local, regional, state and federal agencies will both provide data that feeds the system, and be the users of the data provided by the system. Representatives of all of these agencies should be included (at appropriate points) in planning for such a system.
4. Develop a data governance structure to ensure that information provided by an integrated criminal justice information system is useable and reliable, and that relevant privacy and security issues are addressed. Leverage work now being done in these areas by initiatives such as the Commonwealth Data Steward’s Group, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, and the Health and Criminal Justice Data Committee.
5. Build upon Virginia’s current public safety and criminal justice data systems and infrastructure, to leverage the investments Virginia has already made in these systems. Avoid unnecessary duplication or “reinventing the wheel.”
6. To the greatest extent possible, the integrated criminal justice information system should be developed to provide data not just for the daily operations of public safety and criminal justice agencies, but also to provide data for state and local officials using “data-driven” approaches to develop missions, policies, and budgets for these agencies.