Wednesday, July 23, 2014

INcite Applications Enhance Juvenile Case Processing and Provide Data for Local Fiscal Impact Assessment

The steady development and enhancements to the Supreme Court’s INcite platform are constantly improving case processing and are now able to provide statewide data for study, analysis and planning. The deployment of the automated Indiana Adult Risk Assessment, Pre Sentence Investigation Reports and Abstract of Judgment applications in INcite resulted in the development of a first – an Indiana “Offender Management System” application. This application is used for many purposes by many different users. The application houses a large database of information about adult and juvenile offenders, including demographics and legal histories. The offender database links several INcite applications, such as the Risk Assessment application (used for adults and juveniles) and the Presentence Investigation application (used for adults only). Because the data is located in a single state database, these INcite applications enable data from one application to populate the next. This design eliminates duplicate data-entry, streamlines the process for completing numerous reports required of courts and probation officers, and allows the tracking of information related to individual offenders.

In January of 2014, the Division expanded the Offender Management System to the juvenile arena. The system now allows for the electronic generation of the standard juvenile Preliminary Inquiry (PI), the juvenile Predispositional Report (PDR), and, the juvenile Modification Report (MOD). Statutes require that these reports be completed by probation officers in each case. By incorporating the PI, PDR and MOD into the Offender Management System, users are able to build these documents directly from a juvenile’s legal history and view across county lines reports completed on juveniles in other courts. Thus, the legal history for the juvenile in the Offender Management System is easily available and can be imported into any report for a particular juvenile. Juvenile case information in the state’s Odyssey Case Management System can be imported into INcite, allowing probation officers to create these reports without having to reenter the initial case information.

The primary purpose of the PI is to provide the court with basic information regarding the juvenile offender. Based on this information, law enforcement and judicial officers are able to make an appropriate decision regarding probable cause and detention/release options. The probation officer includes in the PI a recommendation to the Prosecutor whether to file a delinquency petition, informally adjust the case, or dismiss it altogether. The primary purpose of the PDR is to provide information to the judge in making an appropriate disposition. Complete and accurate information about all aspects of the case, with a recommendation when appropriate, enhances the court’s ability to order a disposition that is in the best interests of the juvenile, the family, and the community. The primary purpose of the MOD is to provide the court with information essential to the judge in modifying an existing disposition.

Each of these three reports will also be produced within the QUEST case management system. QUEST is primarily a juvenile case management system used by 11 courts. The Division and QUEST are developing an interface between INcite and the QUEST Repository (a single data base) so that all of the data entered into QUEST can be imported and be visible within the INcite application. This interface will ensure the storage in one central database of all juvenile data collected from the three reports covering the specific points in time in the juvenile justice process.

The juvenile part of the Offender Management System in INcite is currently being piloted in the following six counties: Henry, Elkhart, Owen, Hancock, Daviess and Hamilton. Following the pilot, the application will be released statewide to all juvenile probation departments. The Indiana Judicial Center, which supports probation services, will be providing more details in the coming months to all probation departments.

The resulting compilation of statewide adult and juvenile data can enable Indiana policy makers at every level of state government to study, analyze and project trends and needs. A recent example of the critical importance of such statewide data is its use in assessing the local fiscal impact of House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1006, which is the first sweeping revision of Indiana’s criminal code in 35 years.

In 2013, the Indiana Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee engaged the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to assess the local fiscal impact of proposed criminal code changes contained in HEA 1006. Task one of the six tasks performed by the researchers of AIR was a quantitative analysis of data from 66,292 risk assessments completed between April 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, and data from the Abstracts of Judgment on 20,036 offenders sentenced to prison from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. The Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration provided this data to the researchers. Based on this data and a series of analysis, the researchers estimated the number of offenders that may potentially be diverted from prison under HEA 1006.

The AIR study exemplifies one of many ways that the INcite statewide repository can provide empirical data as a basis for better-informed decision making, analysis, planning, and long-term policy decisions.

For additional information on INcite please contact either Mary DePrez at (317) 233-9926 or mary.deprez@courts.in.gov, or Lisa Thompson at (317) 234-6586 or lisa.thompson@courts.in.gov.