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Standards-based Victim Notification Services Success

Posted By Andrea A. Walter, Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The IJIS Institute posted a press release today that announces the successful enhancement of the information sharing capabilities of five states’ Victim Notification Systems (VNS): Montana, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, and Alabama. The projects were funded by U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grants, including the most recent three that were performed under a subcontract agreement between the National Criminal Justice Association and the IJIS Institute. The National Information Sharing Standard for Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification provides a standards-based approach for all states to create or enhance VNS and, ultimately, provide better services to crime victims.

The IJIS Institute acknowledges the significant contributions of the following IJIS Member companies involved in these implementations of the victim notification standard who contributed to the improved information sharing and services to victims: Appriss, Microsoft, Open Networks, and URL Integration.

There is already evidence of the impact the National Information Sharing Standard for Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification implementation is having on VNS effectiveness. The press release features some really great quotes from stakeholders involved with IJIS in this project, and they are really worth a here they are!  This is truly information sharing making a difference, and showcases IJIS and IJIS Member capabilities and the successful collaboration of government and industry. 

Larry Arrington, a chief systems architect working with the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, said of the implementation in Alabama, “The NIEM-compliant County-Jail data exchange, which resulted from the National Information Sharing Standard for SAVIN project with IJIS, has given the state of Alabama an information exchange vehicle to collect jail inmate and booking data for the first time ever. This data will allow victims to register for offenders at the county level, and receive custody status change notifications via email, SMS text, or interactive voice response phone calls. This would not have been possible without the assistance of the IJIS project team.”

“The assistance that the North Dakota Criminal Justice Information Sharing Program (ND CJIS) received from IJIS provided the opportunity to enhance our court victim notifications. Specifically, our most noteworthy accomplishments were:

  • Ability to triage urgent notifications vs. less time-sensitive notifications: The timing on notifications for urgent messages is now near real-time, which ensures victims receive prompt and clear notification of cancelled and rescheduled hearings. Non-urgent notifications are held, consolidated, and released once a day.
  • Consolidating messages regarding disposition and court events: Previously, the data was often repetitive, omitted or confusing for victims. The aggregation afforded by the enhancement provides clear and user-friendly notifications.
  • Enhanced quality assurance detection and correction: The enhanced system provides program administrators with timely notification on various system failures throughout the data transfer process. This has resulted in quick detection of missing or invalid code values. The resulting intervention has improved data entry at the source, notification specificity, and our vendor’s ability to interpret court data.

Unfortunately, prior to this project, many victim witness coordinators would not refer victims to use the court notifications due to the delayed, confusing, repetitive and overly generic notifications. The reactions we’ve gotten from victim witness coordinators since this project have been positive. We anticipate that we will see a dramatic increase in the number of users within the next year due to the increased referrals and outreach made possible by these improvements.

ND SAVIN’s mission is to provide victims and other concerned individuals access to timely and reliable criminal justice information. The enhancements support the mission of ND SAVIN, specifically relating to the court process, statewide.” –Heidi Smith, SAVIN Program Manager, State of North Dakota

“The partnership that the Montana Department of Correction (DOC) has had with the IJIS institute has resulted in a very positive impact to our agency relative to Crime Victim Notification. The ability to receive an acknowledgment from our victim notification provider gave us more than a verification they received notification information; it gave us the ability to see how they interpreted our notification information and make changes that provided more accurate notification messages to the victim.” –John Daugherty, CIO, Montana Department of Corrections

“The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority has dedicated time and resources to creating a multi-jurisdictional, cross-discipline, statewide information sharing environment using the Global Standards Package. The technical assistance provided by the IJIS Institute enabled our state to implement a standards-based information exchange for SAVIN while providing our public safety stakeholders with first-hand opportunity to realize the benefits of adopting and implementing Global standards. This newly implemented automated exchange virtually eliminates the potential for human error and missed notifications and can be replicated to meet county needs.” –Mike Carter, State of Illinois

“The enhancements to the SAVIN system not only allows us to provide more timely information but also improve access to additional vital information that we were not previously able to share. This initiative with the IJIS Institute has strengthened our SAVIN system allowing us to provide improved services to the victim community in the State of Indiana.” –Brent Myers, Director of Registration and Victim Services at the Indiana Department of Correction

Tags:  IJIS  information sharing  SAVIN  standards 

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