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Wed February 2, 2011
State to Create New Criminal Justice Information System
The state bond commission is set to approve $8 million for a new computer system connecting information from all of the state's public safety and criminal justice agencies. When it became clear that one of the two men involved in the brutal 2007 Cheshire home invasion had recently been put out on parole, the outcry was swift. "How could this guy be let out on parole? I mean, what were the state officials thinking when this happened? It turned out that the Department of Corrections and the parole board never got the information that all of us were able to read about in the newspapers after the fact." That's Michael Lawlor, a former state representative now serving as the governor's Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning. He says it was that outrage that led state officials to review their policies. In the end, they came up with a recommendation to integrate all of the state’s criminal justice information systems The state’s bond commission is now considering an $8 million request to make that recommendation a reality. “What we’re talking about is connecting all of the existing criminal justice data systems so that the Department of Correction information, the prosecutors’ files, the police reports, all of those things are maintained in separate computers systems. The CJIS system will link all of those." Lawlor says the total cost of the system is roughly $25 million and it could be complete in the next year and a half. “You’ll be able to access all of this kind of information, all of the presentencing reports, all the criminal history records, all of the police reports, all of the psychiatric profiles of offenders in the system so that each person that has to make a decision about whether or not somebody gets released and how they’re supervised and what type of a sentence to seek in a case, they have all the information they need.” The state’s bond commission was going to vote on the funding this week, but weather delayed the meeting until later this month.