I am currently looking to the prospect of researching Criminal Justice Information systems both past and present. In this area I want to explore preventative systems, investigative systems, criminal justice (court) systems, remedial/custodial systems and legal/law systems. I am interested in their symbiosis and the differences between various international justice structures and approaches.
This research effort is related to the Knowledge Structure Engineering (KSE) interest but with a special focus on Criminal Justice
The idea is to use a WIKI like approach for part of the research so that practitioners and interested parties throughout the world can supply, supplement and alter the information concerning the reported systems. They will also be able to comment on the technology, its affects and promise.
This part of the research approach will be close to that of the WikiPedia. In this way the contributors will literally be part of a Cecil. B. deMille production. (A caste of thousands).
The intent of this enterprise is not merely to massage the nostalgic recollection of past computer dinosaurs like myself, but also to look to the future. The current systems do not seem to be working in anything like a cost effective manner.
We made a lot of mistakes in our early computer development of CJ systems. In our defence I would state that it was then a very wild and unknown world. The freedom that we were either given or took, was to develop independently, but to a common theme. That released enthusiasm, energy and ability and mitigated confusion and waste, well that was the intent.
Today we have vast centralised systems which never seem to finish or work properly and whose budgets escalate continually. It seems a good time to review the creative anarchy of CJ systems in the 70's and 80's in the light of the signal success of the lightly controlled development of the Internet. We can thereby evaluate the respective merits of centralised controlled programs supposedly made effective and coherent by bureaucratic project methodologies and the independent creative free approach made coherent by standards.
There is a wry saying that if the internet had been under the control of a government development agency we would still have a sub-sub-committee discussing the draft proposals. If you do not believe that I will give you an example. In 1987 I was given an award by the then Home Secretary (Minister of Justice) in the UK, for the development and testing of prototype handheld beat computers by front line police officers. Today, some thirty years later, very few such systems are readily available and integrated into their forces information systems.
Perhaps some catholic recommendations from technical practitioners might help us better orientate CJ technology in the future
Watch this space
for past activities look here