New Study on Criminal Justice Information Sharing

Enhancing information sharing practices is a function of twenty-first century policing efforts and a new study published by the Southern Criminal Justice Association is worth a read for its examination of information sharing tools used in Southern California. The journal articles focuses on the distribution of information regarding sex offenders and their follow-on interaction with law enforcement from agencies across San Diego County.  This is important to the LECC community as more empirical research strengthens the ability to measure outcomes of information sharing practices.

The research involved a partnership with researchers from RAND, the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS), and Victoria University.  They relied upon data from the Officer Notification System (ONS) of ARJIS which alerts officers about sex offenders’ status and supervision requirements.  ONS is a “tactical tool that provides cross-jurisdictional information about offenders and crime activity when queried by law enforcement officers or other system users.”

Previous studies related to criminal justice information sharing practices have tended to focus on the process used, rather than the outcomes that occurred as a result of information sharing. This research used ONS data to “quantify the effects of information sharing on law enforcement outcomes.”  Sex offender information was the type of information they reviewed, yet the importance is not on the type of offense but rather whether information sharing practices increased the ability of inter-agency elements to supervise cases.

In summary, the researchers were interested in understanding the rate at which policing events occurred for offenders, what agencies were involved in those events, and the events’ timing. Through the quantitative ONS data the study was able to show that there is “a significant difference in the likelihood and rapidity of inter-agency involvement for offenders with an ONS record compared to those without.”  Though the researchers caveat that the findings are preliminary and that currently information sharing software isn’t designed for direct analysis, the study demonstrates a mechanism to quantify the turnaround time and related outcomes in information sharing in a criminal justice environment.

The full article can be accessed here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12103-016-9345-7

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