Formed in 1973, the Illinois Crime Justice Information Authority was introduced when new information system standards were developed and implemented by its predecessor, the Criminal Justice Information System Division, a branch of the Illinois State Law Enforcement Commission.Apart from information system standards, the CJIS also implemented an inmate tracking system and was instrumental in the installation of two grant accounting systems in the computer network of the Illinois state government.
Till 1982, the ILEC was being supported by federal funding; however, this inflow of funds was stopped by the congress. On the heels of this, the ILEC was abolished through an executive order that came from the then governor James R Thompson. This led to the eventual establishments of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority in 1982 which was developed as an independent state agency.
Around the same time, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Act was put into force by the General assembly of the State. Although the act has been amended once to include the Motor Vehicle Theft Program, the provisions of the law remain the same. Pursuant to the act, the ICJIA is legally bound to provide crime history information to state and private applicants.
While the agency was entrusted with a lot of additional tasks including crime data analysis etc, some of the original aspects of the operation of ILEC were retained such as auditing of crime history information system and grants administration.Today, apart from disseminating crime history information, the authority also works towards the development of computerized information systems for criminal justice entities from all over the state.
Another noteworthy component of the ICJIA is the Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) which was established in 1977.This agency works towards improving the quality of the criminal justice data available by developing and using new statistical methods for the data processing.
The working of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
In addition to providing information on crime news and scenario in the state, the authority also offers details on information systems, crime research and federal and state grants which are the three main areas of operations of the agency. Improving the administration of criminal justice in the state and keeping the public informed and involved are the primary goals of the authority.
The functions of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
The ICJIA brings together the resources of the state and the public in a bid to identify critical crime issues and propose and evaluate policy changes to address such concerns. The agency also endeavors to make the criminal justice system of the state more efficient by offering easy access to critical information. The duties of the authority are detailed in the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Act and can be segregated into four areas:
Grant administration:The ICJIA is responsible for implementing and funding victim assistance under the various grant programs offering help to victims of crime against women. The agency is also responsible for offering assistance to grantees and monitoring the activity and efficacy of such programs. Another duty of the agency is coordinating the efforts of the Juvenile Crime Enforcement Coalition and statewide initiatives undertaken to prevent juvenile crime. The ICJIA also provides staffing support to the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council.
Research and Analysis: A prime duty of the agency, the ICJIA is charged with maintaining criminal information in the state and conducting research on the information to point out various crime trends and law enforcement issues. Apart from this, the agency also audits the central repository for crime history information to ensure accuracy of the data.
Policy and planning: The ICJIA is responsible for the development and implementation of strategies for the control of drug related and violent crime in the state. The agency also offers advice to the governor’s office on criminal justice legislations and policies while understanding and studying the concerns of criminal justice officers.
Information technology and system: Finally, the ICJIA designs, develops, supports and maintains crime history systems that help to improve the quality of the data offered to victims. As the keepers of the central state repository of crime history, they also entrusted the task of determining and understanding any challenges made by citizens about the accuracy of the data stored in the system.