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Information Revolution in American Justice - Recent Advances in the Development of Criminal Justice Information and Statistical Systems in the United States (From UNAFEI (United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders) Report for 1978 and Resour

NCJ Number
C M Friel
Date Published
15 pages
Recent developments in criminal justice statistical and information systems in the United States are discussed, and factors working against the gathering and dissemination of criminal justice information are identified.
Currently, in almost every jurisdiction in the Nation, systems are being developed to provide law enforcement, judicial, and correctional administrators timely and accurate information on offenders and their offenses. Notably advances have been made in systems that rapidly and accurately identify persons who have been arrested. Several experiments are underway to test the feasibility of various approaches to the automatic classification and identification of fingerprints. Computer technology has also been used by law enforcement to assist in the management and control of police patrol so that the greatest police coverage can be realized using the minimum number of officers and vehicles. Information engineering has also been used by crime analysts to process routine offense information, so as to provide a basis for predicting the occurrence of robberies and burglaries. The criminal trial courts are beginning to make greater use of computer technology to regulate court dockets, assist in the electronic transcription of trial records, and forecast workloads. One of the more successful developments in the United States has been in the use of computer technology to assist the country's prison administrators in managing persons under their jurisdiction. Systems to monitor the movement of offenders through the correctional cycle are currently operational in many prisons. Factors inhibiting expanded and planned development in such information systems are decentralized government, the separation of powers, mistrust of technology, and the absence of goals and standards. Forty reference notes are provided.