National Governors Association awards grants to develop standards for justice information sharing

The National Governors Association has awarded grants to five states to work on standardizing justice information sharing systems. The systems give state agencies immediate access to arrest warrants and other records information that is important to time-sensitive criminal justice decisions and public safety. The states awarded will work with the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), on a Policy Academy on Interagency Standardization of Justice Information Sharing Systems. The grant awards total $25,000 per state and also includes technical assistance from the NGA.

For many states, these systems have gaps or face service delivery challenges because state agencies are aren’t on the same or similar technology systems. These challenges are only exacerbated by the budget shortfalls most states are currently facing. The NGA Center chose Alabama, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia because they have already started working on solutions to overcome these issues.

“Through this policy academy, the selected states will work to streamline their justice information sharing systems,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “As state budgets continue to shrink, this is an especially critical undertaking not only to better public safety by eliminating delays in accessing criminal information, but also to reduce the costs of sharing such information.”

The awardees will work on creating and sharing best practices, tools and resources to help streamline information sharing while keeping costs low. The policy academy states will use the Justice Reference Architecture, a framework developed and supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, which provides a way for states to standardize information sharing at all levels by looking at the components and agencies involved.

To see a justice information system in action, visit the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) website.

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