Dave Roberts is deputy executive director of Sacramento, Calif. -based Search, a nonprofit organization that works with government agencies on integrated criminal justice system projects. He says there are five capabilities these integrated systems should provide.
1 Query capabilities that allow cooperating agencies to search local, regional, state and national databases to find out, for example, whether a suspect is wanted in another jurisdiction or is on probation.
2 Push functions, based on actions like a local arrest, that automatically route data such as fingerprints or mug shots to state and national criminal history databases or to prosecutors’ offices. Prosecutors can use such evidence to decide how to charge a suspect.
3 Pull functions that obtain information from other databases?for instance, retrieving offender information from a presentence investigation to populate a correctional information system. With this data on hand, prison officials know more about each prisoner’s history and can be certain the information they have about inmates is accurate.
4 Publish features that allow parties to post data, such as a defendant’s court date or criminal record, so that others can access it. Because anyone who is authorized could enter data into the system, this feature eliminates the need to rekey data.
5 Subscribe capabilities that notify a probation officer, for example, if one of his clients is arrested. The probation officer can then give prosecutors the client’s criminal history, which helps them recommend a sentence. Now probation officers often get this information by happenstance, then they have to collect the information they need from different databases.