Information Technology and the Criminal Justice System

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Edited by: April Pattavina

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    Preface

    This book is about the impact that advances in information technology (IT) have had on the criminal justice system over the past several decades. Given the substantial investments that federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies are making in IT, the time is appropriate to begin synthesizing the growing body of information about IT and criminal justice in a way that frames the discussion in terms of what we have learned from past experiences, what the current state of IT is in various components of the criminal justice system, and what challenges lie ahead.

    From this perspective, the goal of this book is to inform readers that computer and IT should be understood as more than just a set of tools designed to accomplish a discrete set of job tasks. As the chapters in this book illustrate, there are many technical, analytic, legal, and organizational issues related to advances in computer technology and IT. Therefore, IT must be considered as an integral component of understanding how our criminal justice system works.

    There are many types of IT that could be topics of discussion for a book of this sort. Any attempt to enumerate and describe each in detail would likely be outdated by the time this work is published. The specific types of IT that are described in this book were selected because they address some perennial questions regarding IT and criminal justice and because they span across a variety of agencies, including police, courts, and corrections. These questions are as follows:

    • How has IT changed the way in which we monitor criminal behavior?
    • How has IT changed the way in which we examine patterns of criminal behavior?
    • How have criminal justice organizations adapted to the use of IT?
    • What is the future of IT in criminal justice?

    The first section of the book deals with advances in criminal justice IT. In Chapter 1, Terence Dunworth provides an historical overview of advances in IT in criminal justice and describes some of the important advances that have been made during the past several decades. He also discusses some of the benefits and risks associated with IT advancement. In Chapter 2, Lois Davis and Brian Jackson provide an in-depth investigation of the major sources of IT support for criminal justice agencies and how those developments have shaped the current state of IT in agencies as well as how agencies have managed the acquisition and implementation of IT projects. They also discuss some lessons learned from past experiences with IT implementation in criminal justice agencies.

    The second section of the book deals not only with how criminal justice agencies use the Internet but also with how criminals use the Internet. The subject of Chapter 3, by Roberta Griffith, is a discussion of various ways in which the Internet has changed the way that criminal justice agencies manage information. In Chapter 4, David Wall describes the transformative impacts of the Internet on criminal activity. He also analyzes the construction of our understanding of cybercrime and its relationship to enforcement.

    The third section of the book focuses on IT and crime reporting and analysis. In Chapter 5, Donald Faggiani and David Hirschel discuss how advances in IT have affected official crime reporting, with a particular emphasis on the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). In Chapter 6, crime analysis is covered by Phyllis McDonald, who describes the relationship between the development of IT and crime analysis and the policy implications of IT advances for police practices and policies. In Chapter 7, April Pattavina discusses geographic information systems (GIS) and crime mapping in criminal justice agencies. In addition to GIS applications in criminal justice, she pays specific attention to issues of data quality.

    The fourth section of the book includes chapters that provide in-depth analysis into IT development in specific agencies. In Chapter 8, Glenn Pierce and Roberta Griffith discuss how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' (ATF) communications and information system structure evolved to support ATF's ability to collect and manage information on firearms recovered by law enforcement. In Chapter 9, Kathleen Snavely, Faye Taxman, and Stuart Gordon describe an integrated consent-driven system to monitor offender flow through the criminal justice system and how the information can be used. They also describe the legal context of information sharing across agencies, with a focus on issues related to privacy. In Chapter 10, Peter Manning illustrates the importance of organizational context in understanding how IT is implemented and used by those who work in police agencies.

    The final section of the book addresses the future of IT in criminal justice. In Chapter 11, James Byrne and Eve Buzawa discuss the need for a criminal justice curriculum that focuses on developing the knowledge, skills, and analytic tools available in the area of IT. The final chapter, by April Pattavina, includes a discussion of the future prospects and challenges of IT in the criminal justice system.

    The ultimate purpose of this book is to enhance our understanding of IT in criminal justice as a continuous process that will constantly challenge us to think about how we turn criminal justice information into knowledge, who can use that knowledge, and for what purposes. The incredible pace at which IT advances are being made is fascinating, and the opportunities for involvement undoubtedly will grow. Any person who is interested in criminal justice issues must develop the capacity to understand, use, and challenge current IT practices if he or she wishes to successfully contribute to the future of the field.

  • About the Editor

    April Pattavina, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her interests include the impact of information technology on the criminal justice system and applying spatial analysis techniques to the study of crime. In addition to this book, she has published several journal articles in the area of information technology in general and geographic information systems in particular. One of her most recent articles (with Richard Gore) is “Linking Offender Residence Probability Surfaces to a Specific Incident Location: An Application for Tracking Temporal Shifts in Journey to Crime Relationships and Prioritizing Suspect Lists and Mugshot Order” (Police Quarterly). She also works extensively with criminal justice agencies and is currently the principal investigator on a U.S. Department of Justice-funded grant to integrate criminal justice information related to incidents of domestic violence in a local police department.

    About the Contributors

    Eve Buzawa is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She received her B.A. degree from the University of Rochester and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She has been conducting research in the areas of the criminal justice response to family violence and policing for more than 25 years. She is the author and/or coauthor of several books and numerous journal articles. In addition, she has been the recipient of numerous federal, state, and local research grants. She is a past president of the Society of Police and Criminal Psychology, a past president of the Northeast Association of Criminal Justice Sciences, and a former board member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

    James M. Byrne (M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University) is a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he has taught since 1984. He has written extensively on a wide range of criminal justice topics. Most recently, he served as guest editor for the Fall 2004 special issue of Federal Probation, focusing exclusively on the offender reentry problem. His previous publications include The Social Ecology of Crime (with Robert Sampson, Springer-Verlag, 1986); The Effectiveness of the “New” Intensive Supervision Programs (with Arthur Lurigio and Chris Bond, National Institute of Corrections, 1989); Smart Sentencing: The Emergence of Intermediate Sanctions (with Arthur Lurigio and Joan Petersilia, Sage, 1992, 1994); and Day Reporting Centers (Vols. 1–2, with Dale Parent et al., National Institute of Justice, 1995). He is currently the Co-principal investigator of an evaluation of the National Institute of Corrections' ongoing Institutional Culture Change Initiative. He is also working on a new text, Violence in America: Causes, Prevention, and Control (with Eve Buzawa, Sage).

    Lois M. Davis is a Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. She has a Ph.D. in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a former National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow and a former Pew Health Policy fellow. Her research during the past several years has focused on U.S. emergency preparedness for domestic terrorism. She recently led a nationwide survey of state and local emergency response organizations to evaluate federal weapons of mass destruction preparedness programs in support of a presidential advisory panel. She also conducted a national survey of state and local law enforcement agencies to assess their preparedness for domestic terrorism on behalf of the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Currently, she is conducting research on law enforcement intelligence-gathering capabilities. In addition, she participated in a study on citizen preparedness measures for catastrophic terrorism. Her past research has involved assessing the future technology needs of state and local law enforcement agencies. She has served on the U.S. Department of Defense's Military Health tri-service strategic planning committees.

    Terence Dunworth is the Director of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, with responsibility for directing the focus of the center's work, managing its staff members, and overseeing its research projects. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University, an M.A. in political science and international relations from the University of Utah, and a B.A. in politics, economics, and statistics from Durham University in England. Prior to joining the Urban Institute, he was managing vice president of the Law and Public Policy Area of Abt Associates. Before that, he was a senior researcher at the RAND Corporation. His research over the past decade has concentrated on work of a national scope. Under contract with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, he is currently the project executive on a comprehensive study of administrative service delivery in the federal court system. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, he directed the National Evaluation of the Youth Firearms Violence Initiative (1998), the National Impact Assessment of the Federal Weed and Seed Program (1999), and the National Evaluation of the Byrne Formula Grant Program (1997).

    Donald Faggiani, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate with the Police Executive Research Forum. He is the former executive director of the Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming. He has worked extensively with law enforcement data systems and is recognized as one of the national leaders in research using incident-based police data systems. Several of his most recent publications focus on the practical aspects of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for public policy and police use. These publications include “Regional Problem Solving Using the National Incident-Based Reporting System” (in Solving Crime and Disorder Problems: Current Issues, Police Strategies, and Organizational Tactics); “Using the National Incident-Based Reporting System for Strategic Crime Analysis” (Journal of Quantitative Criminology, July 1999); and “Robbery of Older Adults: A Descriptive Analysis Using the National Incident-Based Reporting System” (Journal of Research and Policy, Spring 1999). He has made numerous presentations and conducted several seminars focusing on the use of the NIBRS for policy analysis as well as for tactical and strategic crime analysis. He is one of the few researchers in the country to incorporate the NIBRS with graphical information systems and mapping for research purposes.

    Stuart Gordon is a 1972 graduate of the University of Maryland who works as a consultant on editorial and health care policy matters. He holds a J.D. degree and is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars. He was the managing editor of Under the Dome: A History of the Maryland General Assembly in the 20th Century (published on Maryland Day 2001 by the Maryland General Assembly).

    Roberta E. Griffith works as a research associate to provide data analysis, research, and project management assistance for Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national network committed to reducing gun violence. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of North Texas, received her M.S. in criminal justice from Northeastern University, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in law, policy, and society at Northeastern University. Her research and interests revolve around dtabase design, analysis, and development as well as privacy legislation and policies. She has published in areas pertaining to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' national firearms tracing system and general information systems as they relate to criminal justice.

    David Hirschel is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His primary research and teaching interests are in victims of crime (particularly spouse abuse), international criminal justice, and legal issues in criminal justice. He was principal investigator of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-funded Charlotte Spouse Abuse Experiment and is currently principal investigator of another NIJ-funded project titled “Explaining the Prevalence, Context, and Consequences of Dual Arrest in Intimate Partner Cases.”

    Brian A. Jackson, Ph.D., is a Physical Scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he has been involved in and led studies in the fields of emergency management, homeland security, technology assessment, science policy, and terrorism. His terrorism-related work includes an ongoing study of organizational learning in terrorist groups funded by the National Institute of Justice, participation in a RAND-funded project developing terrorist attack scenarios using hazardous materials, a large-scale study of command and responder protection during responses to major disasters and terrorist attacks, participation in two projects on critical infrastructure protection, and a study of the use of crime-fighting technologies by law enforcement organizations. His key publications in these areas include articles on technology adoption by terrorist organizations and the report, Protecting Emergency Responders: Lessons Learned From Terrorist Attacks, examining protection and safety needs of responders to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    Peter K. Manning (Ph.D., Duke University, 1966; M.A., Oxford University, 1982) holds the Elmer V. H. and Eileen M. Brooks Chair in Policing in the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. He has been a fellow of the National Institute of Justice, the Rockefeller Foundation, Balliol and Wolfson Colleges at Oxford, and the Socio-Legal Centre at Oxford. He is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World and has been awarded many contracts and grants. He is the author or editor of 14 books. His research interests include the rationalizing of policing, crime mapping and crime analysis, the uses of information technology, and qualitative methods. The second edition of Narcs' Game (Waveland) and his monograph Policing Contingencies (University of Chicago Press) both were published in 2003.

    Phyllis Parshall McDonald, Ed.D., is Director of Research and Assistant Professor for the Division of Public Safety Leadership at Johns Hopkins University. She is responsible for managing research projects funded by the National Institute of Justice (school safety), the Federal Transit Administration, the Community-Oriented Policing Services Office (identity theft), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (post-9/11 policing) as well as for training Baltimore Police Department patrol commanders. She teaches research and evaluation at the undergraduate level, and program evaluation at the graduate level, in the Police Executive Leadership Program. Formerly, she served with the National Institute of Justice and managed research on police operations, police integrity, and measuring police performance. She has nearly 20 years of command experience with local police departments. In the course of her career, she has been responsible for managing three police academies. She has been a consultant to local police agencies and the U.S. Army Military Police in Europe in the areas of police operations, training, and community policing. She has authored several publications, including Managing Police Operations: Implementing the New York Crime Control Model-CompStat (Wadsworth, 2001); Police/Student Relations (National Education Association), and Community Policing and Community Prosecution: Differences and Similarities (National Institute of Justice).

    Glenn Pierce, Ph.D., is Interim Director of the Institute for Security and Public Policy and also Principal Research Scientist for the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. At Northeastern University, he has also served as director of strategic planning and research for information services, director of academic computing, and director of the Center of Applied Social Research. He has conducted research on a broad range of social and economic issues and has obtained funding for his research from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Justice, the National Science Foundation, the Sage Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

    Kathleen R. Snavely (B. A., Ithaca College; M.S., American University) is the Director of Training for the University of Maryland's Bureau of Governmental Research, responsible for development and implementation of training for the HATS Automated Tracking System. Previously, she was the Director of Research for the National Drug Court Institute and served as Managing Editor of NDCI as well. She has also worked as a senior research associate with the District of Columbia Courts and as Project Manager with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ms. Snavely has conducted numerous program and criminal justice system evaluations and has worked with juveniles involved with substance abuse.

    Faye S. Taxman is Professor at the School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the former Director of the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR). She has spearheaded a number of initiatives focused on efficacy of interventions and has developed the Recidivism Reduction Laboratory to test ideas and concepts. As BGR director, she was responsible for studies on various aspects of the criminal justice system, including a two-site randomized experiment testing the efficacy of a seamless system of drug treatment services for offenders (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and a four-site study of drug treatment services offered in drug courts (with the University of Southern Maine and funded by the National Institute of Justice). She has published articles in many prominent journals, including the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency and the Prison Journal. In 2002, she received the University of Cincinnati Award from the American Probation and Parole Association for her contributions to the field.

    David S. Wall (M.A., M.Phil., York; Ph.D., Leeds) is Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds, where he conducts research and teaches in the fields of criminal justice and information technology, policing, and cyberlaw. His specialist area of research is criminal justice and information technology, and he has published a wide range of articles and books on issues related to the field, including Cybercrimes (Polity, in press); Cyberspace Crime (edited, Ashgate/Dartmouth, 2003); Crime and the Internet (edited, Routledge, 2001); and The Internet, Law, and Society (coedited with Y. Akdeniz & C. Walker, Longman, 2000). He is currently conducting research on the regulation of deviant behavior on the Internet while he is on an Arts and Humanities Research Board fellowship. He has also published a range of books and articles within the broader field of criminal justice, including Policy Networks in Criminal Justice (edited with M. Ryan & S. Savage, Macmillan, 2001); The British Police: Forces and Chief Officers (with M. Stallion, Police History Society, 1999); and The Chief Constables of England and Wales (Ashgate/Dartmouth, 1998).


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