Automation in Disposition Management

Historically, paper documents conveyed disposition information from one entity to another. Today, data can be exchanged faster, more reliably, and economically using technology. Standards exist to ensure that data exchanged is semantically equivalent.  Both technical capabilities and operational practices must be in place to make automation effective.


Identifiers

Many states struggle with the issue of unique identifiers to facilitate matching records.  The Governance group can facilitate agreements among justice stakeholders that establish unique identifying numbers to be maintained in all key systems and can assist with obtaining funding for implementation. Establishing a unique identifying number as a “control number” to be maintained in all key systems (for law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, clerks and repositories) was the highest impact issue identified by a Dispositions Focus Group of practitioners assembled for the Warrants and Dispositions Project.
Resources: W&D Project Details (Disposition Focus Group)

Design

Through the course of pilot projects and assessments conducted as part of the Warrants and Dispositions project, a number of promising practices were identified relating to design considerations for technology solutions to enhance matching of dispositions to arrest records.

Case Tracking vs. Charge Tracking

Most court systems are case-centric. Charge tracking is more complex and less often utilized.  Many plea agreements fail to address all the original charges.  As a result, case management systems frequently record the disposition as addressed in the judgment entry: only the charges included in the judgment are reported.  When judgments address all charges, information for all charges is maintained in the case management system and shared with repositories.

Event-triggered, electronic reporting of dispositions

Requires integration, ideally standards-based interfaces, between affected systems. 

Information sharing via a web portal

Entering disposition data into a web portal is an adequate interim solution. However, that process creates another data entry step, introducing the possibility of data entry errors. Redundant data entry is also costly in manpower.

Electronic Reporting All arrest and disposition information exchanges among affected agencies should be electronic via integrated systems, passing relevant identifiers and case/charge information.

Resources: Disposition Process Flow

Standardization 
Standardize definitions and exchanges that support disposition reporting
In order for justice stakeholders to exchange information, they must agree on standard definitions and required data.  Although some jurisdiction-specific requirements may be necessary, jurisdictions should leverage national standards:
Resources:

  National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)
Global Reference Architecture (GRA)
Global Information Sharing Toolkit (GIST)
Global Reference Service Package Specification Packages (SSPs)
OASIS Electronic Court Filing Specification (ECF)  Standardize reporting process and codes

Not all localities or states are using a unified statute table, which contributes to matching errors.  Offense codes and statutes (with any qualifiers when applicable) should be standardized. Until a unified statute table exists, jurisdictions can map statutes to state codes, automate statute mapping, and encourage legislation or court rules to designate the agency responsible for maintaining the official statute table.