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Mission Possible: Strong Governance Structures for the Integration of Justice Information Systems

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2002
72 pages
Publication Series
This report presents the methodology and findings from a study of the type, quality, and capability of existing justice information integration and governance structure models.
Questionnaires were completed by 251 jurisdictional representatives of suburban, urban, and rural areas throughout the United States. The majority of respondents were involved in some aspect of information systems integration with other departments and/or agencies, and most systems were integrated with their State justice system; however, one-third had no integration efforts underway and no governance structure in place to facilitate integration. The responses were tallied and the data analyzed during March 2000. Among the major findings of the study was that funding was a major reason that jurisdictions were not engaged in justice information system integration and that they had not established governance structures. Other obstacles to justice information system integration were turf issues and lack of technology. Further, the most common type of governance structure was established through a cooperative agreement, and governance structures were most often initiated by persons directly affected by the structure and/or key advocates. Law enforcement agencies were the criminal justice agencies most often involved in integration efforts, and the top three information systems that respondents integrated were records management, offender history, and computer dispatch systems. Respondents offered a number of suggestions for advancing justice information system integration. These included the following: ensure equal involvement/participation from all agencies/jurisdictions involved; explore and secure funding; set realistic goals and objectives with a reasonable implementation time frame; keep ongoing, open lines of communication with all agencies involved; have unconditional support of primary public officials; have well-trained technology users; and standardize and network all software, hardware, and protocols. The study shows that all governance structures do not have to be created in the same way; jurisdictions/agencies or clusters of agencies must decide what works best for them and design their structures accordingly. 17 figures, 10 tables, and appended survey instrument, jurisdictions responding to survey, a 14-item bibliography, and worksheets

Date Published: February 1, 2002