Integrated Justice

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Introduction

The criminal justice system is based on a process that relies upon the accurate and efficient sharing of information. Creating an integrated information system that ensures the timely sharing of critical information allows informed decisions to be made at critical points. 

By integrating justice systems statewide, the State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) hopes to improve public safety, increase homeland security, improve the quality of justice within the State, and allow for a more efficient expenditure of resources.

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)

Working independently as well as collaboratively with other agencies and organizations, DCJS has launched a number of information integration initiatives. The following pages contain brief explanations of all the current integration projects.

Data Standardization Project

The Data Standardization Project is an ongoing collaborative effort to standardize data elements throughout the criminal justice system to enable the electronic transfer of criminal justice information between agencies. Under the coordination of DCJS, this project involves the cooperation of more than 20 State and local criminal justice agencies in an effort to adapt individual information systems to common data standards.

The product of this project is The Statewide Criminal Justice Data Dictionary. The Dictionary is designed to allow agencies to fulfill their own unique operational needs for information while allowing data elements to be transferred between agencies as needed. Individual agencies may store and maintain information in any manner they choose as long as they comply with established standards when information is to be transferred to another agency.

The tenth edition of the dictionary was released in June of 2001 and is now available online. Accessible through the Division's website, the Dictionary is updated periodically to ensure that users are accessing the most up-to-date information. In addition, users may download selected Dictionary Code Tables to be imported directly into personal databases.

Standard Practices Project

The Standard Practices Project is a formalized effort to develop standards and guidelines for collecting, recording, transmitting, and updating criminal history information. The project began as a response to a New York State criminal justice practices assessment which concluded that the lack of criminal history processing standards significantly depreciated the quality of information maintained by DCJS.

For the purposes of this project, the criminal justice process was divided into three components: arrest processing, judicial/prosecutorial processing, and custody/supervision processing. Subcommittees for each of these components worked together to develop the New York State Standard Practices Manual for Processing Fingerprintable Criminal Cases The Manual was first published in September of 2001 for use by State and local criminal justice agencies, and is now available on-line on the DCJS public website.

In addition to the publication of the manual, the project anticipates the need for ongoing training of criminal justice practitioners, the monitoring of agency compliance with the standards set forth in the Manual, and the modification of these standards when necessary.

Juvenile Justice Standard Practices Project

The Juvenile Justice Standard Practices project is building on the results of the recently completed Federally-funded Juvenile Justice Case Processing study. An interdisciplinary team comprised of representatives from the appropriate juvenile and criminal justice agencies is actively reviewing the assessment findings of the Case Processing study, and is working to establish standard practices for the collection, processing, transfer and reporting of juvenile criminal history information. When finalized, this information may be incorporated into the Standard Practices Manual for Processing Fingerprintable Criminal Cases, or will be published separately.

XML Messaging Standards Project

What is XML?

SEARCH Inc. defines XML (more commonly known as Extensible Markup Language) as a tool to facilitate interoperability and information sharing among agencies and systems. It involves data, text, documents, transmission protocols and standards. More specifically, XML is a structured language for describing information being sent electronically by one agency to another. XML sets a standard for electronic information exchange and describes the data contained in documents and electronic transactions. XML is in a text format, license-free, platform-independent and well supported.

What is the XML Messaging Standards Project?

The XML Messaging Standards Project is a multi-agency collaborative initiative led by DCJS to develop and promulgate data messaging standards based on the use of the Statewide Criminal Justice Data Dictionary, the U.S. Department of Justice XML Data Dictionary, the Global Justice XML Data Model, and Extensible Markup Language (XML). The XML Project is a key component of the Justice Information Technology Integration Implementation Grant, awarded to DCJS by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in conjunction with the National Governor's Association.

Project goals will be accomplished through the establishment and use of a Steering Committee and Working Group. The Steering Committee, made-up of high-level information technology administrators from state and local criminal justice agencies, is responsible for providing guidance, direction, and oversight to a Working Group. The Working Group, comprised of state and local information technology practitioners, will develop XML messaging standards. The Working Group is supported by DCJS project staff and consulting staff from MicroKnowledge Inc. The first Joint Meeting of the Steering Committee and Working Group was held in November 2003.

Which Agencies and Associations are Participating in the Project?

This multi-agency collaborative initiative brings together both state and local agencies and statewide associations. It is an important extension of the statewide effort to promote effective information sharing among New York State's criminal justice agencies, federal agencies and other states.

Steering Committee and Working Group representatives are drawn from the following agencies and criminal justice associations:

  • New York City Department of Probation
  • New York City Police Department
  • New York City Office of the Mayor - Criminal Justice Coordinator's Office
  • Monroe County Sheriff's Department
  • Onondaga County Sheriff's Department
  • Erie County Central Police Services
  • Ulster County Department of Information Technology
  • Westchester County Department of Information Technology
  • Nassau County Police Department
  • Syracuse Police Department
  • Suffolk County Police Department
  • New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
  • New York State Crime Victims Board
  • New York State Department of Correctional Services
  • New York State Division of Parole
  • New York State Police
  • New York State Unified Court System
  • The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc.
  • The New York State District Attorney's Association
  • The New York State Local Government Technology Director's Association
  • The New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute

eJusticeNY

eJusticeNY is an expanding, web-based entry point through which police, court and other authorized criminal justice personnel access a broad range of information, including State criminal history records; the State's Wanted and Missing Persons files; out-of-state criminal history information; NCIC Persons Files; Watch List files maintained by the FBI, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce; the New York State Sex Offender Registry; the State's Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse; and a variety of other data sources. A substantial part of New York's criminal justice community, including the Intelligence and Investigations Bureaus of NYPD, is using eJusticeNY and the number of authorized users increases each month. As of December 2003, the user base included more than 12,000 individuals representing 890 State and local agencies and offices throughout New York.

eJusticeNY / NYSPIN Integration

With the emergence of eJusticeNY as the statewide portal for accessing criminal justice information, DCJS and the Division of State Police (DSP) are working together to integrate the functions of DSP's New York Statewide Police Information Network (NYSPIN) with eJusticeNY. The project focuses primarily on eliminating redundant processes while maintaining alignment of applications with the agency having the highest degree of relevant expertise. Two systems which currently have redundant and inefficient processes, Wanted/ Missing and Probation Data Entry, will be redesigned in 2003-2004 with the intention of consolidating their functions with DCJS Repository processing.

Wanted/Missing. Currently both DCJS and the State Police maintain parallel Wanted/Missing systems. All records are initially entered on the State Police system and then passed to DCJS. DCJS, in turn, transfers the records to the FBI's NCIC Person Files. Both agencies provide inquiry and search capabilities for their own files and for the FBI's files. Development targeted at consolidating all of these functions at DCJS will begin in 2003 with implementation phases beginning in May 2004. A significant benefit from this change will be a data entry process that allows the end-user to automatically "pack" the wanted record with CCH information when a NYSID Number is known for the individual.

Probation Data Entry. Currently the State Police provide the data entry functions for probation data entry, and then message the information to a DCJS maintained stand-alone system which services the probation community. That system in turn messages data to the DCJS mainframe which combines the information with the CCH record. All of these functions will be consolidated on the eJusticeNY platform and will be made available through the eJusticeNY Portal. In addition, a formal effort will be made to integrate eJusticeNY into the NYSPIN delivery mechanism. Ideally, this will be accomplished by making eJusticeNY available natively through NYSPIN Enforcer terminals. Rather than creating new connectivity to DCJS from points around the State, this sub-project leverages the State Police Network and expedites the transition of end-users to the eJusticeNY Portal.

Spectrum Justice System

In the fall of 2000, DCJS assumed responsibility for the upgrading and delivery of the Spectrum Justice System (SJS) from a private software development vendor. SJS is an automated law enforcement records management system developed in 1990 by DCJS technical staff. Local police departments currently use the system to collect and manage incident, arrest and warrant information. The first release to the field of an upgraded SJS (Version 5.7) occurred in February 2001. Since that time, five new versions have been released. A sixth version is scheduled for release in April 2004.

Each release has made the application much more stable, more scalable, stronger and more user friendly. The SJS Team has also responded to customer requests with new and expanded functionality and innovative system modifications. Staff have implemented an interface with the Store and Forward system and certain Computer Aided Dispatching systems. Under development is an interface with the New York Prosecutors Training Institute's case management system. That interface will bring about significant changes in the way police agencies across the State do business. It will tightly integrate a police agency with the DCJS Criminal History Repository and the appropriate district attorney office.

Store and Forward Expansion

The Store and Forward System receives digital transmissions of data, fingerprints and photographs (mugshots) which are used to perform the DCJS identification process, stored for subsequent State processing and forwarded to the FBI to facilitate their fingerprint search and subsequent storage. Input is received largely from arrest processing and from license and employment application processing. Criminal inquiries and corrections admissions, however, are also accepted. The Store and Forward Expansion initiative is an effort to increase the number of agencies that submit data electronically.

As of December 2003, there are 115 agencies which submit electronically through the Store and Forward System. Notable exceptions include the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York State Division of State Police (DSP), and numerous upstate municipalities. Gaining the participation of these three segments in the Store and Forward process is essential, and each segment is discussed below as a separate sub-project.

NYPD

The NYPD arrest process and the New York City arrest to arraignment process both involve numerous agencies, large numbers of personnel from those agencies, and the information technology which facilitates the process. NYPD is responsible for 55.1% of the fingerprint input processed by DCJS. The two major initiatives regarding Store and Forward within the NYPD are the NYPD Livescan upgrade and eJusticeNY Arrest-to-Arraignment Raps.

NYPD Livescan Upgrade: This project will upgrade NYPD's livescan devices and upgrade the transmission protocol of the digital fingerprint images and associated arrest data to a standards-based message sent from NYPD to the DCJS Store and Forward System. The standards-based message will allow DCJS to electronically forward the information to the FBI. Other benefits include automation of error processing, direct input of electronic images into the DCJS SAFIS and associated improvements in image quality and search accuracy. This project eliminates the Online Booking System transmission of arrest data to DCJS, the separate transmission of images and the matching process at DCJS.

 eJusticeNY Arrest-to-Arraignment Raps: This project will upgrade the New York City arrest-to-arraignment process to incorporate the eJusticeNY rapsheet and replace the legacy mainframe rapsheet currently used in New York City. The most significant benefit of this sub-project, in conjunction with the Livescan Upgrade sub-project, is the ability to get a fingerprint based response from the FBI within two hours of the initial booking information transmission; compared to two or three weeks under current processing. This will make out-of-state arrest information available at arraignment, even when a New York arrest history is not found. Additional benefits include a more readable and comprehensive rapsheet that includes arrest photographs. This change will also give New York City the benefit of information improvements that have only been added to eJusticeNY (e.g. the addition of marijuana seal logic and historic orders of protection).

New York Division of State Police (DSP)

The Division of State police is interested in upgrading its arrest process to include cardscan/livescan technology. They currently provide 6.1% of fingerprint input to DCJS. DSP is unique in that they are a large police department, but, because of the size of their jurisdiction and the technology and equipment which must be deployed to upgrade their arrest submissions to DCJS, they have a profile much like many smaller police departments. This condition has led DSP to consider a vendor-provided service solution with a fee per transaction pricing model.

Upstate Municipalities

DCJS currently has over 70 upstate (defined as non-New York City, non-State Police) police departments which contribute arrest information electronically through Store and Forward. While these departments represent 40% of the upstate volume, they represent only about 12% of the upstate police agencies. Getting the remainder of these police departments connected is a difficult undertaking that often is controlled by the availability, or absence, of adequate funding. As a result, DCJS is providing incentives to these agencies to procure and implement Store and Forward systems through the provision of technical assistance and directed Federal assistance to localities.

New York State Incident and Intelligence Repository (NYSIIR)

Phase I: Statewide Incident Data Repository (SIDR)

This phase creates a strategic direction for receiving incident data at DCJS. It is aligned with, and builds upon, the strategic direction already established for arrest input through Store & Forward. Moreover, the S&F subsystem will eventually be transformed into the e-commerce messaging depot for all data exchange with DCJS. This plan leverages standard messaging and existing connectivity infrastructure. For agencies not yet connected to DCJS, this implementation continues the strategy of synergy by consolidating and enhancing eJusticeNY messaging and portal access.

Considerations for data collection will include the data necessary to support crime mapping and investigative/intelligence needs as well as the ability to aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data. Statistical information desires can also be entertained for data included in the standard; however, sensitivity to creating information gathering and input overhead inconsistent with operational value returned should always be considered when adding data requirements for statistical purposes. Failure to do so will jeopardize the achievable level of participation.

This phase will be accomplished by publishing a new version of the NYS Electronic Fingerprint Transmission Specification (EFTS) to incorporate Incident transactions and data elements. Livescan and cardscan applications will be upgraded by vendors to embrace and send the new messages.

It should be noted that we are nearing a point where the EFTS document should have a new, XML-based version developed. This is a complex issue since it involves other criminal justice agencies as stakeholders. The incident based messages could be addressed as part of this effort; however, that may delay the incident based efforts. Alternatively, the message could be based in the same NIST format as existing messages with the realization that they will need to be upgraded at a future point.

Phase II: Upgrade DCJS Infrastructure

Store & Forward applications and the DCJS Enterprise Database (CCH) will be upgraded to process and retain the additional data. The Spectrum Justice System's (SJS) Integration Module Specification will need to be upgraded and SJS will need to be modified to create the necessary files. In turn, the Integration Module vendors will need to make the corresponding changes to read the file and transmit the data according to the updated EFTS.

Phase III: Data Extract

Single point, robust interfaces, with optimized automation can then be created to connect the enterprise platform with vendor provided systems; e.g., the Crime Mapping System and the Proposed Photo Imaging and Query System (PIQS). These interfaces can also be used beyond incident data and can be used to share any CCH information applicable to the vendor systems (e.g. Sex Offender data).

Participation in SIDR will be an evolution. It should be understood that the legacy data extracts for IBR and Crime Mapping will continue for some agencies for an extended amount of time.

Phase IV: SIDR Query Integration

With incident data available in the enterprise database and linked with CCH Data, robust inquiries and searches can be developed. Functionality could be keyed to functionally replacing those functions provided in SJS using the eJusticeNY portal and browser-based technology.

Key policy decisions will need to be made regarding ownership of incident data and whether queries can be run against data contributed by other agencies. Alternatively, the agency could pursue a compact approach that agencies that contribute incident data, and only those agencies, can utilize the functions that provide operational return from incident data.

Additionally, questions regarding the relationship of sealing on incident data will need to be addressed; i.e., if an arrest occurs and is disposed of in favor of the defendant, if the incident data is sealed, it cannot be used to tabulate UCR data.

Phase V: Share Incident Data with the FBI

This phase would involve passing incident data to the FBI and any associated transactions required. Note that the FBI has not yet decided upon a concept of operations regarding whether they would store the incident data or if they would operate as a broker amongst the states.  Amongst the transactions to be developed would be those required if the FBI did store data (e.g., inserts, deletes, modifications, reconciliation, etc.) and those which would be used so that New York State agencies could benefit from out-of-state incident data (e.g. inquiries and searches).

Phase VI: Record Management Functions

If desired and feasible, add the remaining functionality to eJusticeNY which is necessary to phase out the existing SJS package.

Criminal History Information Reconciliation Project (CHIRP)

The New York State Unified Court System (UCS) is working in collaboration with the DCJS to reconcile more than 500,000 open arrests for the period between January 1, 1990 and October1, 1999. Data is currently being collected by field staff in the town and village courts of upstate New York, as well as in the five boroughs of New York City, to reconcile the open arrests and update the Criminal Justice Repository at DCJS.

This project is one of a number of collaborative efforts supporting information sharing between the Office of Court Administration and DCJS. Another project involves the development of an improved electronic interface to identify disposition errors more efficiently and facilitate error correction in a more timely manner. Currently there are approximately 72 town and village courts transmitting electronically to DCJS and an additional 80 courts have requested authorization to begin electronic processing.

ePagesNY

During 2002, DCJS initiated this project to enhance communication among criminal justice agencies by creating and implementing a criminal justice white-pages directory service called ePagesNY. The ePagesNY directory is now available to enrolled criminal justice users in a secure manner, via the Internet. The Directory provides access to names, e-mail addresses and other data concerning criminal justice practitioners to simplify communication among individuals or to defined groups. Access to the Directory requires that an individual be employed by a criminal justice agency having jurisdiction within New York State. As of December 2003, 4,587 criminal justice practitioners were enrolled to receive this service.

New York State Office for Technology

The standard for government systems integration in New York State has been set by the New York State Office for Technology (OFT). OFT is committed to using technology to further the agenda of statewide change. The products that are developed are "preferred standards" which agencies are expected to meet over time. The primary focus of OFT initiatives is threefold: to save State resources, to increase interagency and inter-governmental communication, and to improve public access to the State government.

There are many networks that exist to provide access to information throughout the State. While each is effective at meeting the specific needs of its respective agency, it is difficult, if not impossible, to share information between these systems. OFT's solution to this dilemma is NYeNet.

NYeNet is an electronic communications network that provides a "digital backbone" through which information can flow to and from virtually anywhere in the State. The launch of NYeNet was a major milestone in moving all agencies in New York State toward a common, shared, secure information infrastructure allowing State and local governments to share information efficiently and accurately. It was intended to be the platform on which agencies statewide would build their own e-commerce initiatives

The State University of New York at Albany Center for Technology in Government

The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) works with government to develop information strategies that foster innovation and enhance the quality and coordination of public services. CTG conducts applied research and partnership projects on the policy, management, and technology issues surrounding information use in the public sector.

CTG has provided various government agencies with valuable tools for improving information sharing and integrating systems. Currently, CTG is working with DCJS to develop a strategy for building a statewide portal for justice information.