Slowed corrections database rollout ties up Victorian justice

Information retained by Courtlink on offenders incomplete

The delayed rollout of an integrated database to share data on defendants between Victorian state agencies has hampered state government attempts to reduce court orders and bail conditions in the state.

According to an Auditor-General’s audit report released this week, two agencies - Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) and the Court Integrated Services Program (CISP) in Victoria - had plans to reduce multiple offence charges through rehabilitation programs for offenders. The agencies planned to measure the program effectiveness by using data on defendants from the by the Victorian Police and Corrections Department to see if less people had reoffended.

However, the Auditor-General found that the Victoria Police and Corrections’ Courtlink database did not contain enough information on defendants and was not linked to other criminal data in other parts of the justice system.

According to the report, the information in Courtlink did not record the age of first offence, which was important for predicting reoffending.

The report called for better use of data by establishing one platform to hold defendant details. Attempts to roll out an integrated database between departments has been delayed until February 2012.

"The department has been implementing the Integrated Courts Management System to establish a single integrated technology platform and a set of applications for all Victorian courts and tribunals,” read the report.

"This integrated management system will record all data from all courts, with a unique identifier for all defendants to allow employees within the justice system to track a defendant's history and progression through the courts."

Due to the delay, the Victorian Government was urged in the audit report to make the identifiers a priority as part of the rollout.

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