The state of Wisconsin is improving information sharing between existing and future criminal justice information systems (CJISs) through the Wisconsin Justice Information Sharing (WIJIS) effort. This effort includes a pilot called the Model County Project where a team works on the technology architecture, which will be implemented in other counties in the state once validated and funded.

"Currently, an integrated corrections system, including adult and juvenile institutions, community corrections and the state's sex offender registry, is in development," the WIJIS Web site states. "In addition, a number of local and regional projects are underway to share law enforcement and general criminal justice information."

The current initiative looks at linking statewide vertical systems at the local level, as well as linking state and local systems among agencies as needed. The capacity to link prosecutors and courts now exists and will be implemented in a standard manner across the state.

Plans are also in place to develop a single law enforcement-prosecutor link. Quite a few links between the courts and different agencies requiring court data are planned or underway, and electronic links have been established between the state's criminal repository and the courts. Links with corrections to improve criminal history data are also being created.

A Technology Architecture Report was created in support of the project and states that the vision for WIJIS is to "enhance the operating efficiencies of each of the individual justice partner organizations for the improvement of justice administration through electronic sharing of information."

In order to achieve its goals, the WIJIS project uses electronic information sharing instead of paper; an enterprise standards approach to technology at the state level; voluntary cooperation by state and local agencies that are interested; and a non-traditional grassroots approach to improving justice-information sharing, according to the report.

To ensure the Model County Project is in line with the overall WIJIS vision, goals have been set. According to the report, those goals are: identifying opportunities to electronically share information among WIJIS partners, along with the data elements to be accessed and exchanged; identifying and recommending ways to eliminate barriers to electronically share and access information; and developing, recommending and promoting standards that will facilitate the electronic sharing of information between WIJIS partners.

"These goals focus on information sharing within the justice environment and the technology necessary to support that sharing," the report states. "In support of the above goals, the Model County [Project] has been limited to implementing three key components."

The three components include: linking the district attorney's PROTECT system to the Consolidated Court Automation Program (CCAP); linking law enforcement agencies to PROTECT by creating a prototype data transport tool to share data; and providing a secure, Web-based lookup of PROTECT data for participating law enforcement agencies.

"These components define the scope of the Model County project. The scope restrictions are intended to keep the Model County effort defined and measurable so that the ability to replicate the Model County topology can be evaluated and forecasted for future efforts," the report states.

Organizations involved in the Model County effort include the Department of Electronic Government, WIJIS, DA Information Technology, CCAP, the Director of State Courts Office, the Crime Information Bureau, the Department of Justice, the Wisconsin District Attorney Association, Green Lake County, Jefferson County and local law enforcement agencies.

Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor