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July 30, 2001

Illinois Receives Nearly $1 Million to Help Integrate Criminal Justice Information Systems

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois has been awarded a federal grant of nearly $1 million to implement a plan for integrating criminal justice computer systems so state and local agencies can more easily share relevant information.

The $973,660 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will help Illinois build an electronic information-sharing network that will allow police officers, court administrators, corrections officers, and other criminal justice officials across the state to exchange relevant information.

"Utilizing technology to make government more efficient and responsive to the needs of the public has been a top priority of my administration," Ryan said. "This grant of nearly $1 million will our assist our previously formed working group continue to address these issues."

The grant to Illinois is part of $16.4 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice to 26 states for justice information sharing projects that could be attained within two years. The National Governors Association, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, and the National Conference of State Courts reviewed the proposals and offered recommendations to the Department of Justice.

While individual agencies have become highly automated, most of their information systems were created in isolation without regard to being linked with other systems. "What we need to do now is bridge this technological gap so that vital information, such as arrest and sentencing information, can be shared across jurisdictions and among agencies," said Candice M. Kane, executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, which will administer the grant.

The Authority made the creation of an integrated criminal justice system a major priority in its strategic Criminal Justice Plan for Illinois. Such an information-sharing network will improve the accuracy and timeliness of information available at all levels of the criminal justice system, from police officers to court personnel to corrections officials.

"Ultimately, what we are striving for is a criminal justice environment that is not only more efficient, but also safer for our police officers and the public," Kane said. The Authority is pursuing its plan for an integrated justice system with assistance from the Governor's Technology Office, the Illinois State Police, and agencies throughout the state. Previously, the Authority had earmarked nearly $600,000 in state and federal funds it is administering to further integration efforts.

The new federal grant will allow the Authority to hire a team of program managers and information systems analysts to implement its plans. The project will initially focus on three objectives:

  • Initiate a comprehensive information system needs assessment that identifies and describes in detail the characteristics of all municipal, county, and state justice information systems in Illinois.

  • Create an electronic means for exchanging data between agencies in Cook County to eliminate paper-based data transfers, which are redundant and susceptible to human error.

  • Create a multi-agency governing body to coordinate and direct the state's integrated justice efforts.

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