Today’s technology solutions require strategies that improve how the justice enterprise collects, shares, and uses information to support justice and public safety decision making. Strong state level leadership and planning, and collaboration with local practitioners, is critical to implementing and improving justice information sharing strategies across the country.
SAAs spend nearly one-fifth of Byrne JAG funds on information sharing initiatives including criminal records, cyber-crime, identity theft, fusion centers, and other information sharing projects, they are becoming more knowledgeable about national standards and their leadership role in these efforts.
For some, the need to share information is a foregone conclusion. Information sharing can increase effective decision making, aid prosecution in the administration of justice, and empower law enforcement officers and first responders to take appropriate action on the scene.
However information sharing is a powerful tool that must be used wisely. Information in the wrong hands can become a danger to privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights. Even when information is used correctly, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming and difficult to piece together. Therefore, information must be shared only with appropriate partners, with adequate privacy and security controls, and in such a way that it is practical, actionable, and useful to its end recipients. Many of the planning and policy issues relating to privacy, the use of data, system governance, collaborative stakeholder involvement, and investment decisions to promote the adoption of national standards require the executive leadership. Working together, SAAs and practitioners can provide a collaborative environment to increase the adoption and implementation of national standards and tools for justice information sharing country.
Led by the Global Information Sharing Initiative (Global), standards based justice information sharing technology and practice have advanced over the past decade. National standards have been promulgated for virtually every aspect of justice information sharing. The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) has standardized the format for the exchange of data. Global Reference Architecture (GRA) has standardized the configuration of the technical architecture for information exchange services. Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM) has set standards for resolving credentialing and access restrictions. Standards have also been set for constructing a technical articulation of access limitations and privacy requirements. A standardized set of policies and practices have also been developed to ensure privacy safeguards and information quality. These standardized tools have been designed to work in conjunction with one another and when implemented increase efficiency, enhance operations, and promote cost savings and reuse. These tools are often described as the Global Information Sharing Toolkit (GIST).
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Conventional wisdom typically equates good information with accurate information. Good information, however, should also be timely, reliable, and complete. Today, information quality is understood to be a multidimensional concept that encompasses critical relationships among multiple attributes, such as timeliness, accuracy, relevancy, and others. Together, these attributes contribute to the validity of the information. Quality information is the cornerstone of sound agency decision making and inspires trust in the justice system and in the entities that use information.
Information quality can be defined as the accuracy and validity of the actual content of the data, data structure, and database/data repository design. The elements of information quality are accuracy, completeness, currency, reliability, and context/meaning.
The term “governance structure” denotes the elements of the authority and decision making structure a state has put in place to oversee implementation of the integrated justice information system initiative. Governance responsibilities may be exercised by a new or existing committee, council, or commission that has been authorized to oversee implementation of the justice information system initiative. Alternatively, governance of justice information sharing initiatives may be the shared responsibility of two or more entities or individuals (e.g., of a special advisory committee operating under the authority of the administrator of a state department of public safety).
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In the real world of implementing justice information sharing initiatives, security concerns pose a significant challenge. JIS increases the interface points among internal computer systems, among information exchange partners, and with the public. Electronic interaction occurs more frequently and involves a broader range of information exchange and transactions. While the overall effect on productivity and service quality is extremely positive, valuable information resources will likely see increased exposure to the risks of privacy violation and security breach.
The risk is real: the number and sophistication of cyber-attacks is climbing. The worst possible reaction to such news would be to abandon efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice process. The good news is that the information security industry has developed very powerful technology in the last decade, and this technology provides the tools necessary to build secure information systems and realize the objectives of safe information sharing. The bad news is that those who seek to undermine privacy and confidentiality in the justice process continue to learn new methods for accessing these systems. Practitioners involved in information security, must be equally educated in cyber-security and protective and preventive technology.
Justice Information Sharing Practitioners Networks (JISP)
JISP is a national network of state and local justice and public safety integration practitioners committed to increasing the local, regional and national sharing of justice information through peer collaboration and facilitation. JISP provides a forum for centralizing and standardizing issues and solutions for integrated justice information systems embracing an enterprise-wide and national view. Blending the information, experience, and resources across many sources, agencies, disciplines, and backgrounds, JISP communicates a pragmatic and holistic approach to criminal justice information sharing. eadership is provided by the JISP board of directors comprised of twelve experienced program leaders of local and state criminal justice information sharing initiatives in the United States.
Training and Technical Assistance
The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides training and technical assistance (TTA) to enhance public safety and maximize justice information sharing (JIS) investments at the state, local and tribal levels. With a focus on promoting and strengthening state level leadership and replicating best practices, NCJA delivers resources and remote and on-site TTA to support the implementation of policies, practices, and technology solutions that leverage JIS national standards Global Standards Package (GSP). Criminal justice agencies that administer Byrne JAG funding (SAAs) must now require compliance with GSP whenever making grants that involve information sharing. Primary components of the GSP include the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), Global Reference Architecture (GRA), and Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM).
If you have questions or would like further information regarding this initiative, please contact Tammy Woodhams, NCJA Senior Staff Associate at firstname.lastname@example.org.