Overview of the Criminal Justice Policy Council Criminal Justice Information System Audit

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1 Overview of the Criminal Justice Policy Council Criminal Justice Information System Audit Criminal Justice Policy Council December 2001 Tony Fabelo, Ph.D. Executive Director

2 Overview of the Criminal Justice Policy Council Criminal Justice Information System Audit To view or download this report, visit our web site at Criminal Justice Policy Council P. O. Box Austin, TX (512)

3 Researched and Written by: Gene Draper Technical Writer: Regina E. Ygnacio

4 Note from the Director The Criminal Justice Policy Council (CJPC) is mandated by law to coordinate every five years an evaluation of the records and operations of the Texas Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) which is comprised of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Computerized Criminal History system (CCH) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Corrections Tracking System (CTS). The evaluation is required to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information in the system and to ensure the promptness of information reporting. This report presents an overview of the operations of the CJIS system, describes the goals of recent system enhancements and summarizes the CJPC strategy to evaluate the system. DPS manages Texas CCH system. The CCH holds the official criminal history records that are used for identification, offender tracking, and state and national background checks. The records include fingerprints, personal descriptors and history of arrests, prosecutions, court dispositions, and sentences to corrections. In 1989, Texas mandated enhancements to the CCH system. These enhancements included the use of a unique incident number related to each offense to track the offender from arrest to release from the system, the reporting of certain information, and the creation of a Corrections Tracking System (CTS) for offenders under the control of TDCJ to link with the DPS CCH system. In 1996, the system was further expanded to create computerized records for juvenile offenders. The goals of the enhancements were to streamline reporting, improve the accuracy and completeness of the records, and expand the reach of the information collected. Some of the enhancements that have been implemented have resulted from prior recommendations made by the CJPC and from federal initiatives administered by the CJPC or the Criminal Justice Division (CJD) of the Governor s Office. Federal funds have been provided to assist Texas in improving criminal history records. One program used over $17 million in discretionary federal funds received by the CJPC to implement a paperless live scan fingerprint identification and arrest reporting system and upgrade systems at DPS. This system is presently operational in 31 high reporting volume sites and is now part of the DPS reporting infrastructure. A separate program used over $11 million in formula federal funds received by CJD to implement electronic reporting of court disposition information. This system is presently operational in 54 sites and is also now part of the DPS reporting infrastructure. Since these systems have been implemented over 600,000 fingerprint cards, more than one million prosecutor actions, and over 1.3 million court actions have been reported electronically instead of on paper. Responses given back to the reporting agencies now are given in hours instead of weeks under the former system. The electronic reporting systems have streamlined the reporting and improved the efficiency of reporting between local reporting agencies and DPS. However, it is not clear how completeness of records has improved since the reporting systems have been operational. One of the main goals of the CJPC evaluation will be to measure improvements in the accuracy and completeness of criminal history records and to examine compliance with federal and state criminal history reporting goals. The State Auditor s Office is also assisting the CJPC in this evaluation by conducting a process and management review relating to the CJIS system administration. Forthcoming reports will present the results of the different aspects of this evaluation. Tony Fabelo, Ph.D. Executive Director

5 The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Manages the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) System Local Reporting Agencies Report arrest and conviction records DPS CCH System Local, State and Federal Users Records of 6,552,914 persons as of September Fingerprints - Personal descriptors - History of arrests, prosecutions, court dispositions, and corrections - Identification - Background checks - Tracking Criminal history records system was created by DPS in 1935, the same year that the Department of Public Safety was created. In 1966, the department conducted a records computerization feasibility study. Conversion of manual criminal history records to the CCH system began in 1970 and the computerized system became operational in January

6 Criminal History Records Are Used for Identification, Offender Tracking and Background Checks Identification and Investigations For law enforcement identification of arrested persons For rap sheets used by law enforcement and prosecutors For law enforcement investigations of crimes and criminals For identifying repeat or career criminals Background checks For legislatively-approved licensing and regulatory purposes: - Concealed firearms licenses - Brady background checks - Medical licenses - Employment screening (day care, etc.) Over 2,000,000 non-criminal licensing and employment searches each year Tracking For determining supervision status of offenders For conducting recidivism tracking for program evaluations For policy analysis 2

7 In 1989 Texas Mandated Enhancements to the Computerized Criminal History Records Systems Chapter 60 Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Mandatory reporting of arrests, prosecutor filing decision, and court dispositions Incident number for each offense to track the offender from arrest until release from the system Creation of Corrections Tracking System for offenders under the control of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to link with the CCH system at DPS Changes were recommended in the CJPC report, Analysis of the Texas Computerized Criminal History System Database, October The CJPC analysis found that data reported to DPS was generally accurate, however, reporting was incomplete in too many instances. Substantial backlogs existed in the manual entry of data reported by local sites. Ø Chapter 60 CCP encouraged electronic reporting of criminal history data where possible to eliminate the need for redundant data entry at DPS. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Corrections Tracking System (CTS) includes information on offenders while they are under probation supervision, in prison or state jail, or under parole supervision. Ø Linking to DPS CCH was to allow law enforcement agencies to compile a complete rap sheet on an offender including correctional status and to ensure that the records in both systems contain current information. 3

8 In 1995 Texas Also Mandated the Creation of Computerized Records for Juvenile Offenders Section Family Code Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS) Certain juveniles referred to the juvenile court are to be reported to the DPS JJIS Incident number related to each offense to track the juvenile from arrest until release from the system Disposition data to include the name and description of any program to which the juvenile is referred Juvenile criminal history records stored in a central repository for the first time. Juvenile records to be made available to adult court. Ø Prior to the implementation of JJIS, juvenile offender records were not available to the adult court so the offender was treated as a first time offender rather than as a recidivist. Records to be reported on juveniles referred to juvenile court for offenses that, if committed by an adult would be felonies or class A and B misdemeanors. 4

9 Goals of Enhanced System Were to Streamline Reporting, Improve Accuracy and Completeness of Computerized Criminal Records Streamlined Reporting Encourage the use of electronic reporting Eliminate reporting of convictions to licensing agencies - DPS to perform computer matching of convictions and license holders and notify licensing agency if any of their license holders have been recently convicted Improved Accuracy Adoption of incident number to link arrest to prosecution and court disposition, and to track the correctional status of convicted offenders Improved Completeness Mandatory reporting by local jurisdictions to DPS of arrests, prosecutor decisions, and court dispositions Expand Reach Require the reporting of juvenile offender criminal history tracking information 5

10 Federal Funds Have Been Provided to Assist Texas in Improvement of Criminal History Records U.S. Department of Justice Federal Funding Criminal Justice Policy Council Texas Criminal History Improvement Program (TCHIP) Implement "Live Scan" Electronic Fingerprint and Arrest Reporting System Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division (CJD) Electronic Disposition Reporting (EDR) Program Implement Electronic Court Disposition Reporting System Presently operational in 31 high volume sites Presently operational in 54 high volume sites Paperless reporting of fingerprints, arrests and court disposition records to DPS CCH CJPC funded the development of standards for electronic reporting and, in conjunction with the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division (CJD), the implementation of electronic reporting of arrests and court dispositions. Expansion of electronic reporting in sites across Texas is being funded by CJD of the Governor s Office. DPS has assumed ownership of the TCHIP funded Live Scan systems in partnership with the local sites and is providing operational management to ensure the continued success of electronic arrest reporting. 6

11 Funding and Strategy of TCHIP Has Been Directed at Improving Fingerprints and Arrest Reporting U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics Discretionary grants made to the Criminal Justice Policy Council $17,061,200 received Main goal has been to implement paperless live scan fingerprint identification, reporting, processing, storage and retrieval $4,961, ,000, ,200, ,400, ,500,000 Before TCHIP - Suspect Arrested Paper fingerprint and arrest report Mail prints and report to DPS DPS mails a card to FBI After TCHIP - Suspect Arrested Digital fingerprint and computerized arrest report Instant electronic transmission to DPS All arrest information sent electronically to FBI 7

12 TCHIP Has Replaced Paper Reporting with Computerized Reporting in High Volume Sites In the past: -Local sites must take at least three sets of prints - for local file, DPS and FBI -Booking of arrestee required paper reporting to DPS -Permanent criminal record created in AFIS days or more after arrest -Response from FBI in 6-8 weeks or more Reporting Arrests Through Fingerprint Cards Arrest Weeks DPS AFIS DPS CCH Weeks FBI At present: -Local sites take digitized prints once and print local card(s) -Booking of arrestee automatically creates and sends an electronic record to DPS -DPS forwards an electronic record to FBI -Permanent criminal record created in CCH within 24 hours of arrest -Response from FBI in 2 hours or less Reporting Arrests Through Electronic Reporting Arrest Hours DPS AFIS DPS CCH Hours FBI Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is a computerized fingerprint storage and retrieval system managed by DPS. 31 high volume sites now use digital live scan to take fingerprints. Computerized edits improve the quality of the fingerprints and offender data. In most instances, DPS confirms identification of the person arrested in less than an hour, often within minutes. 8

13 Funding and Strategy of EDR Programs Have Been Directed at Improving Court Disposition Reporting Byrne Memorial Funding U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance Formula grants for state improvement projects Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division(CJD) $11,772,605 in grant funds awarded Grants to Counties and Cities = $5,014,487 Grants to State Agencies = $6,758,118 DPS - $6,004,840 TDCJ - $ 665,928 CJPC - $ 87,350 Before EDR was implemented in 1995: Ø County court staff key court dispositions into county computer systems and print out disposition data on paper. Ø Disposition paperwork mailed to DPS. Ø DPS staff key court disposition into DPS CCH system. Ø Redundant data entry is wasteful of staff resources, increases errors, and delays the posting of critical information for use by the criminal justice system. After EDR was implemented in 1995: Ø Court dispositions keyed into county computer systems by county court staff. Ø Disposition data transmitted electronically to DPS. Ø Disposition data edited by computer programs and electronically posted to CCH system. Ø Data entry of electronically submitted records at DPS is eliminated, reducing errors and making the information available within hours. 9

14 Sites That Have Implemented Electronic Reporting Electronic Arrest and Disposition Reporting (27 sites): Bexar Co. Brazoria Co. Brazos Co. Dallas Co. Denton Co. Ector Co. El Paso Co. Fort Bend Co. Galveston Co. Gregg Co. Harris Co. Hidalgo Co. Lubbock Co. McLennan Co. Midland Co. Montgomery Co. Nueces Co. Potter Co. Smith Co. Tarrant Co. Taylor Co. Tom Green Co. Travis Co. Victoria Co. Webb Co. Wichita Co. Williamson Co. Electronic Disposition Reporting only (27 sites): Angelina Co. Atascosa Co. Bastrop Co. Bell Co. Bowie Co. Castro Co. Chambers Co. Collin Co. Comal Co. DeWitt Co. Grayson Co. Guadalupe Co. Hays Co. Henderson Co. Hopkins Co. Howard Co. Hunt Co. Johnson Co. Lamar Co. Morris Co. Randall Co. Rusk Co. Upshur Co. Walker Co. Wilbarger Co. Wood Co. Young Co. Electronic Arrest Reporting only (5 sites): Arlington PD Garland PD Jefferson Co. SO McAllen PD Mesquite PD Pending Implementation (7 sites): Cameron Co. Gonzales Co. Karnes Co. Lavaca Co. Milam Co. San Patricio Co. Wise Co. Sites with both Electronic Arrest Reporting (EAR) and Electronic Disposition Reporting (EDR) have implemented Live Scan in addition to electronic transmission of prosecutor filing decisions and court dispositions. Sites with only EDR have not implemented Live Scan/Electronic Arrest Reporting. Sites with only EAR have Live Scan/EAR, and most are city police departments that do not have courts that deal with reportable offenses (Felonies and Class A and B Misdemeanors). 10

15 TCHIP and EDR Have Reduced Paper Reporting of Arrest and Court Disposition Records to DPS Over 600,000 electronic fingerprint cards have been submitted instead of paper fingerprint cards since the first local site became operational in Since 1/1/1995, counties have sent electronically to DPS: Prosecutor actions 1,141,470 Court actions 1,215,931 Total EDR records 2,357,401 The electronic transmission of data has eliminated the need for those records to be manually entered into the DPS CCH system, reduces the chances for errors in the records, and ensures the information is available for retrieval within 24 hours of receipt at DPS. DPS staff formerly keying in data have been transferred to other functions to cope with increasing workloads and new mandates. 11

16 CJPC Will Evaluate Improvements in Criminal Records System Identify Improvements Completeness, accuracy, and timeliness Compliance Federal criminal history reporting goals Local Reporting Flow of data between local sites and state agencies CJPC mandated in Chapter 60 CCP to conduct audit every five years. Ø Chapter (j) states At least once each five-year period the council shall coordinate an examination of the records and operations of the criminal justice information system to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information in the system and to ensure the promptness of information reporting. State Auditor is conducting a user-satisfaction survey and evaluating controls in place. DPS is required to respond to the audit recommendations. Ø HB 776, 77th Legislature, requires Not later than the first anniversary after the date the examining entity submits its report, the Department of Public Safety shall report to the Legislative Budget Board, the governor, the state auditor, and the council on the department s progress in implementing the examining entity s recommendations, including for each recommendation not implemented the reason for not implementing the recommendation. 12

17 Previous CJPC Evaluations Have Led to System Improvements 1988 Audit FINDING When data is reported to the DPS CCH system, it is generally accurate. However, significant problems exist with the non-reporting of data. POLICY Chapter 60 CCP enacted into law in 1989 Reporting to the newly created CJIS was mandated Audit FINDING When data is reported to the DPS CCH system, it is generally accurate. However, significant problems still exist with the non-reporting of data due to paper reporting and electronic reporting should be encouraged. POLICY Federally-funded crime records improvement initiatives aimed at improving reporting to CCH Implemented TCHIP Live Scan/ EAR systems to improve reporting to the CJIS 13

18 Proposed Main Strategies for Audit Completeness Analyze records of persons arrested in 1999 and Compare findings to 1996 results Accuracy Retrieve CCH records of known probationers, prisoners, and parolees - Compare known status to CCH status Compare arrests and dispositions in select counties with CCH records Electronic Reporting Compare arrests from Live Scan/EAR sites to manual reporting sites Compare dispositions from EDR sites to manual reporting sites Management Issues DPS data entry backlogs Record reporting of posting issues Implementation of the incident number Reporting monitoring and accountability systems Linking with TDCJ components How is data passed between DPS and TDCJ Completeness of TDCJ records linked to DPS 14

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