E Pluribus Unum: Data and Operations Integration in the California Criminal Justice System

34 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2009 Last revised: 24 Sep 2010

Date Written: September 16, 2009


The Stanford Criminal Justice Center (SCJC) recently completed a series of Executive Sessions with state and local officials about integrated criminal justice in California, exploring the ways in which the hundreds of disparate criminal justice agencies across the state might share information and coordinate activity, cooperating across jurisdictional and agency lines to promote common public safety goals. An integrated criminal justice system, one where information is readily available to agencies when they need it, has several potential advantages: it can promote more efficient use of resources by avoiding duplication of effort; provide greater transparency to policymakers, regulatory agencies, and the public; and produce the evidence necessary to illustrate ways in which existing policies can be improved.

While integration is a crucial part of the future of criminal justice, integration itself is an increasingly important issue in its own right, particularly as governments tackle complex problems that do not confine themselves to particular geographic or jurisdictional areas (e.g. environmental pollution). As with criminal justice, tackling these problems also requires massive amounts of information and inter-agency and inter-jurisdictional coordination. Some lessons from the integrated criminal justice context might be relevant here: the importance of agreeing on common metrics, the challenge of getting individual agencies to think about how their information and interventions might be reused, and the importance of ensuring that any proposed changes take ordinary business practices into account. Integrated criminal justice can, at a minimum, illustrate the issues that are likely to arise.

Keywords: criminal justice, data, integrated criminal justice, information technology, IT, evidence-based sentencing, sentencing, parole, probation, alternative sentencing, California

JEL Classification: D73, D83, D23, H11, H72, H77, K14

Suggested Citation

Ball, W. David, E Pluribus Unum: Data and Operations Integration in the California Criminal Justice System (September 16, 2009). Stanford Law & Policy Review, Vol. 21, p. 277, 2010, Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1474105, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1474105

W. David Ball (Contact Author)

Santa Clara School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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