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Criminal Justice Information Needs of Illinois Local Government Officials

NCJ Number
S B Milner; B Ferrara
Date Published
Findings and recommendations are presented from a study that examined the criminal justice information needs of Illinois local government officials.
The first phase of the study was designed to determine what local government officials (LGO's) need to know to make sound decisions on criminal justice matters. The methodology of this phase used a survey questionnaire sent to all criminal justice planners in the State and all members of two professional organizations affiliated with the criminal justice system. Respondents indicated that they believed LGO's should know about criminal justice concepts and techniques. A panel of criminal justice experts was also consulted about their views of the criminal justice information needed by LGO's. The study's second phase sought to determine what LGO's presently know about criminal justice. Personal interviews were conducted with 75 county officials and 129 city officials. In the general area of information, the study found that LGO's need to know (1) major sources of information, (2) how to find and use information, (3) how to judge the objectivity of data, and (4) data regarding similar communities. Knowledge needs dealt with duties and responsibilities of LGO's defined by State statutes, the local government's role in the development and improvement of criminal justice services and the system as a whole, and how to find and use standards for criminal justice operations. Further, there was a need to know how to use techniques to stimulate interaction between LGO's as decisionmakers and agency administrators as data suppliers. Attitudinal needs are the need to believe that criminal justice is important and to feel qualified to make criminal justice decisions. Based on these identified needs, a training strategy for LGO's is recommended. Tabular data and 21 bibliographic listings are provided, and the study instruments are appended.