CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Inconsistent Inmate Tracking Systems Lead to Confusion and Mistakes

From washingtonpost.com: The disconnect between two branches of the criminal justice system, the courts and the prisons, highlights a fragmented method of tracking inmates in the DC region.

Although many cities and counties across the country -- particularly those with large immigrant populations -- have used computerized criminal databases for decades that seamlessly share information between courts and jails, the system in DC area jurisdictions, for the most part, remains disjointed, officials say.

Across the region, officials say they recognize the need to make their court and jail data compatible within each jurisdiction. But for now, most use safeguards that are inconsistent from one area to the next. Some fingerprint all inmates; some don't. Others type in a slew of aliases, while others shun names for numbers.

The incompatibilities have led to a number of mistakes.  For example, accused killed Christopher T. Broady was allowed to walk out of the Prince William County jail in a moment of confusion between court and jail officials. Months earlier, inmate Fernando Cruz, confined two months too long because of a miscommunication in name filing. Rest of article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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