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Criminal Justice Information Policy: Strategies for Improving Data Quality

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1989
Criminal justice agencies should place high priority on developing and implementing standardized training programs to assure data quality in the criminal justice process, and such programs should include appropriate written procedures and manuals.

Although the document focuses primarily on statewide programs designed to improve data quality, virtually all the strategies are appropriate for implementation at any level of government, including local law enforcement agencies, prosecutor offices, and courts. The strategies are grouped as follows: 1) administrative strategies (task force approach to data quality, baseline auditing, and needs analysis); 2) data entry strategies (uniform documentation, systematic auditing, tracking systems with unique numbering systems, tracking systems using an approach keyed to individual charges, and tracking systems based on initial offense charges); 3) data maintenance strategies (mandatory reporting, monitoring disposition reporting, court disposition reporting by prosecutors, and preprinted disposition reporting forms); and 4) regulatory strategies (written agency procedures and standardized training). Each strategy is described briefly. The significance of accurate and complete criminal history record information is stressed.

Date Published: April 1, 1989