Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS)
Connecticut's Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) is the umbrella term for the activity among agencies with criminal justice responsibilities to bring greater cohesion and effectiveness by improving the way we communicate and share information across system components, and how we manage data on crime and criminal offenders.
These agencies include:
Through the CJIS initiative, several component projects are aimed at bringing greater cohesion and effectiveness to our criminal justice system by improving the way we communicate and share information across system components, and how we manage data on crime and criminal offenders.
The History of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Information System
The history of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Information System dates back several decades, to the beginning of business-based computer systems. Participating criminal justice agencies began discussing the concepts of interagency data exchanges in the mid-1970s. In 1983 and1984, the state conducted a thorough review of the criminal justice systems environment and needs. Although the need to share and exchange offender and case data among agencies was identified, it was decided that agencies should continue to develop their individual data systems rather than immediately begin a statewide CJIS initiative. This decision was based on the recognition that technology could not support the vision of an integrated justice information system in a cost-effective manner. The effect yielded the creation of many “stovepipe” and agency-focused applications that are still in operation today.
In 1988, CJIS data processing and information sharing issues were studied by a technical support team. This team produced the “Criminal Justice Information System Study,” a CJIS roadmap in terms of program development and utilization of state and federal funding.
The Creation of the Offender-Based Tracking System (OBTS)
In 1991, Connecticut was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Justice for the improvement of Criminal History Records and Identification of Felons. From this, a multi-year plan to establish a state-of-the-art electronic information system was developed. In 1993, the “CJIS-OBTS System Master Plan for an Interagency Connecticut Criminal Information System” was completed. This plan proposed that an Offender Based Tracking System (OBTS) be implemented as a single source repository of criminal offender data that is accurate, verifiable, timely, and available to all of the criminal justice agencies involved in all phases of the criminal justice process. Key to the plan was the reliance of OBTS on two application and data hubs, one in the Executive Branch and one in the Judicial Branch, to support the agency legacy system applications and provide criminal justice data to the OBTS, a common repository of data, based upon “triggering events.” The State of Connecticut began laying the groundwork necessary to implement the OBTS according to the plan.
In 1995, Governor Rowland’s Anti-Crime Initiative embraced a plan to develop an integrated “state of the art” criminal information system that would build upon Connecticut’s existing criminal justice information systems, contain all essential offender information in one shared system, and provide historical and current criminal information.
The legislature recognized this need and approved the funding for the OBTS. Subsequently, CJIS participation was expanded to include the Department of Motor Vehicles and municipal law enforcement agencies in recognition of the need to coordinate criminal justice information with motor vehicle data and the large number of municipal law enforcement personnel.
In 1999, P.A. 99-14 mandated that the CJIS Governing Board shall develop and implement a “state of the art” criminal justice information sharing system. In 2004, that state of the art system known as the Offender-Based Tracking System (OBTS) was launched. OBTS was the first of its kind to bring multiple diverse information systems together to more effectively and efficiently track criminal offenders. OBTS tracks the status of an offender on a near real time basis from the time of arraignment, through adjudication, incarceration, and supervision, until release, as applicable.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement as well as select state agencies use OBTS daily. Providing a single source of criminal justice data, authorized users can obtain the most current electronically available and complete information about Connecticut offenders, cases, arrests, and incarcerations. Sources for data include criminal, court, and arrest. From its inception, OBTS has disseminated over fifty-six million data elements, including Criminal History Record Information (CHRI). OBTS contains “enterprise” criminal justice information, or information that is essential to multiple criminal justice agencies.
The OBTS system was designed to be the first inter-agency system for information sharing. The Connecticut Information Sharing System (CISS) was mandated by statute as a solution to providing increased public protection though a comprehensive system. OBTS is integrated into the CISS system as a subset of the larger, more technologically advanced system.
The Creation of the Connecticut Impaired Driver Records Information System (CIDRIS)
Also in 2004, the State of Connecticut appointed the CJIS Governing Board to develop, implement, and host the Connecticut Impaired Driver Records Information System (CIDRIS). CIDRIS provides automation and electronic exchange of Operating Under the Influence (OUI) arrest data and documents between the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), and the Superior Court Operations Division (SCO) (Judicial). In 2008, CIDRIS began its implementation to DESPP troop barracks.
CIDRIS includes the electronic roadside data capture of traffic summonses, as well as the retrieval of judicial, criminal offender, and DMV information. The first automated exchange system in Connecticut, CIDRIS delivers more timely and accurate driver, vehicle, and enforcement - adjudication information. It also offers a records management and tracking system that enables DESPP, licensing, and criminal justice agencies to better adjudicate and impose sanctions against drunk drivers. With CIDRIS, authorized users can get information on OUI traffic stops and arrests at the time of arrest. Before CIDRIS, arrest or citation data was unavailable until days after the initial recording of the event when it showed up in court records.
The Connecticut CJIS Governing Board and the Establishment of CISS
The Connecticut Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Governing Board, created by , Public Act 99-14 in 1999, was directed to primarily engage in activities that constitute the administration of criminal justice.
In the early years, the CJIS Governing Board supervised the operations and administration of the newly formed Offender-Based Tracking System (OBTS) and the Connecticut Impaired Driver Records Information System (CIDRIS), established committees and appoint committee members, and recommended legislation necessary for implementation, operation, and maintenance of the OBTS. The Board established and implemented policies and procedures to meet the system-wide objectives, including the provision of appropriate controls for data access and security.
Prior to 1992, CJIS agency participants cooperated on an agency-to-agency basis. In 1992 the Office of Policy and Management through its Justice Planning Unit with the support of the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, formed an ad hoc policy structure. This became a model for the Governing Board and an Implementation Group. Public Act 99-14, an Act Creating a Criminal Justice Information System Governing Board, now provides a statutory basis for the CJIS Governing Board. Public Act 00-20, An Act Concerning the Criminal Justice Information System, added the Office of the Victim Advocate to the CJIS Governing Board and identified OBTS data to which the Division of Public Defender Services has access.
In 2007, in light of then recent events that included the Cheshire home invasion, the State of Connecticut undertook a review of its current criminal justice process. As a result of that review, State of Connecticut Public Act 08-01 (effective March 1, 2008) was passed. This act not only provided for change to the penal code, it also provided for the expansion of the current criminal justice information sharing process in an effort to provide for a safer community for the citizens of the state.
One of the provisions of this act was to expand the mandate of the CJIS Governing Board. The CJIS Governing Board was charged with the following:
“shall design and implement a comprehensive, state-wide system to facilitate the immediate, seamless and comprehensive sharing of information between all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions having any cognizance over matters relating to law enforcement and criminal justice, and organized local police departments and law enforcement officials.” Additionally, P.A. 08-01 expanded the membership of the governing board and added provisions for an executive director and staff to fulfill the requirements of the statutory mandates. The new system was established as the Connecticut Information Sharing System (CISS).