More than two million Americans are incarcerated in local, state, and federal prisons and seven million are under some form of supervision. Every year, approximately 650,000 people are released from state and federal prisons and more than nine million are released from jails.
Corrections agencies maintain offender records that are valuable to a variety of audiences and can generate a wide range of benefits. Timely access to accurate information can enable successful strategies for lowering the prison populations, reduce recidivism, lower the costs of supervision, and manage the risks of dangerous offenders at key points in the decision-making process. Corrections, law enforcement agencies, courts, and community-based service providers have much to gain from sharing offender information they have at their disposal. Though integral components of what should be a coordinated criminal justice system, historically, the broader justice community has not communicated well concerning information of justice-involved individuals or other matters of mutual interest. There is much at stake for corrections and law enforcement, especially the short- and long-term safety and security of their operations, as well as the communities they serve.
As correctional agencies develop and implement offender management information systems, it is essential, not to mention cost-effective, that they are aware of existing standards and the expanding need to share information across stakeholder audiences. National standards—like the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), Global Reference Architecture (GRA), and the Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM)—are tools that can be used to enhance and expand information sharing and safeguarding capabilities. The use of these national standards accelerates development and implementation efforts, encourages and enables reuse by others implementing comparable information sharing, and helps foster greater agility in operating and maintaining information systems.
The IJIS Institute is currently working on several initiatives funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, to overcome the gap in information sharing capabilities between corrections, criminal justice, public health, and other service providers. We have worked with a number of our Member companies to help develop interoperable solutions to enable information sharing among local law enforcement, public safety agencies, and relevant service providers in ways that are designed to reduce victimization. Current initiatives in corrections information sharing include:
Reentry Information Sharing Pilot Sites
The IJIS Institute leads this combined grant effort working in partnership with the National Governors Association, the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), the American Correctional Association (ACA), the National Sheriffs Association (NSA), the Corrections Technology Association (CTA), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), with support from the Council of State Government’s Justice Center. The primary goal of the project is to develop, test, and implement a standards-based offender information sharing capability in three state departments of correction. Under the guidance of the Corrections Reentry Information Sharing Project Advisory Board, which includes practitioners from corrections, parole, probation, law enforcement, and the courts, the IJIS Institute and its subcontractor have completed and vetted the Corrections Information Sharing (CIS) Service specification (SSP) which includes ten prioritized information exchanges that occur from arrest to release from supervision. Implementation of the CIS SSP is currently underway in three state departments of correction (Illinois, Iowa, and Tennessee).
Justice-to-Health Information Exchange
There are 11.6 million jail encounters in the US each year. Information sharing related to convicted offenders and other justice-involved individuals' presents a critical challenge for the criminal justice, healthcare, mental health, and other treatment services domains. The ability to share information among these domains can dramatically affect public safety and the justice process in general, and the quality and continuity of care provided to these individuals in particular.
Successful offender reentry into society requires sharing information about an individual’s treatment history while incarcerated with community health providers so that any underlying causes of criminal behavior can be treated and recidivism avoided. The IJIS Institute, under sponsorship of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and in collaboration with the Urban Institute, identified and prioritized opportunities for exchanging such data. The primary work product of this group was a list of 34 information exchanges addressing the continuity of care and effective treatment of individuals who are part of both the health care and criminal justice systems, published in 2013 as Opportunities for Information Sharing to Enhance Health and Public Safety Outcomes.
The IJIS Institute and its subcontractors, the National Center for State Courts and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, are developing an interoperable framework to translate between technology systems used by criminal justice and health practitioners. A Justice Continuity of Care Document (JCCD) is being developed which will contain justice-specific data elements that can be shared with other criminal justice organizations or with interested healthcare organizations. This project will provide a comprehensive solution to the technical problem of justice/health information sharing resulting in a consistent and open standards-based way. The solution will be supported by both the justice and health communities, will build on previous standards work, and will not require either community to significantly alter its current technical standards. Once these standards are in place, the IJIS Institute will provide technical assistance to two pilot sites that will implement two of the prioritized use cases.
Corrections Advisory Committee
The IJIS Institute Corrections Advisory Committee is focused on the advancement of information sharing standards among the institutional and community corrections communities. The work of this committee provides guidance on issues facing information sharing in corrections as an integral function of the criminal justice information system overall.
Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification
Offender information collected to deter and prevent crime in the criminal justice system can also be shared with a community to enhance awareness, promote public safety, and assist crime victims in exercising their right to information and notification. A SAVIN program is a network of solutions and activities that embody the planning, governance, administration, technology, implementation, execution, and ongoing management of crime victim information and notification services. A SAVIN program is not a particular service provider system application; state and local law enforcement, courts, state/community/county corrections, and victim service professionals must all effectively share information in order to provide relevant, timely, and accurate offender and case status information to crime victims and their families.
The IJIS Institute has played an important role in the nationwide SAVIN program, helping to develop technology standards to ensure that SAVIN programs conform to national criminal justice information-sharing standards and assisting state, local, and tribal agencies with implementation, planning, managing, and operating a successful SAVIN Program. The IJIS Institute developed the SAVIN Service Specification Package (SSP) and piloted the Information Exchange Package Document (IEPD), developed the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) Help Desk and continues to support it, and developed the original SAVIN Guidelines & Standards document and continues to be involved in the work of updating the current version. The IJIS Institute is recently worked on the implementation of the Victim Notification Service Specification Package in three states and developed a SAVIN Technology Roadmap.
PREA Data Standard
In 2003, President G.W. Bush signed into law the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79).
The goal of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is to eradicate prisoner rape in all types of correctional facilities in this country. In August 2012, the final PREA rule became effective requiring confinement facilities to comply in order to prevent, detect, and respond to all possible PREA occurrences. PREA regulations require compliance and agencies not in compliance will face financial penalties. Collecting uniform data on PREA incidents can provide assistance in helping agencies to achieve that objective.
The goal of the IJIS Institute’s PREA initiative is to provide a consensus-based National PREA Data Standard that can help enable the effective and efficient collection and sharing of PREA-related information for use in corrections offender management and jail management systems to support PREA-related operational requirements and processes.
The IJIS Institute developed the National PREA Data Standard with guidance from the PREA Data Standard Working Group (PWG), which includes PREA experts from key nationwide organizations and correction practitioner associations, including advisors representing six state departments of correction. The PREA Data Standard identifies critical PREA data elements that can exponentially improve overall information sharing, data analysis, and data quality.
The IJIS Institute is currently working with the state departments of correction in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Iowa to complete the three pilot implementations of the PREA Data Standard and to measure the impact of the PREA data standard to provide better understanding, insight and support for agencies to overcome challenges associated with achieving compliance and addressing PREA reporting requirements. For more information about the PREA Data Standard, contact the IJIS Institute.