February 15, 2010

Why Has the RI AG Waited Until the End of his Tenure to Implement an Electronic Centralized Case Management System?

Monique Chartier

As a function of one of my jobs, I review state RFP's to see if the state needs anything that my employer can supply. It's an interesting task, in part, because it's a way to see first hand what various state departments are spending tax dollars on. Most of the time, expenditures seem pretty straight forward; the only jarring aspect is how long the list always is and how expensive many of the projects are, invariably leading me to wonder, "Do these people know how broke we are?"

Today, an RFP, one posted by the Office of the Attorney General, popped out for a different reason.

RFP # 7323420 TITLE: Integrated Prosecutorial Case Management System

with this eye opener on page 7.

Currently, with the voluminous records and data we have accumulated over time, we still can not electronically ascertain if a defendant, victim or witness has an association with any other criminal matter, has testified before in another venue or has a conflict through an association with other defendants, victims or witnesses, and frequently must rely on staff’s independent recollection of the individual. A centralized case management system would provide name association tables that track individuals and relationships, independent of individual staff memory of events. ...

The Attorney General’s Office would not be able to comply with any requirement for electronic filing, unless we first begin the process by implementing a case management system that maintains an electronic case file which contains all relevant documents and records in a centralized manner.

Now, to be clear, the individual records of defendants are centralized in digital form. So a prosecutor can quickly determine whether a defendant has a prior record. But the need does not stop there, as the RFP itself states. A comprehensive centralized record system would seem like quite an important tool for the Office of Attorney General.

Hasn't the Attorney General been quite irresponsible in allowing a critical part of our justice system (i.e., his office) to "rely on staff’s independent recollection of the individual" for the last seven years?

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Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 15, 2010 10:59 PM

"has a conflict through an association with other defendants, victims or witnesses,"

The potential breadth, and possible misuse, of this troubles me.

Shall we make a database of VFW members to see if they know eachother?

I know it will be said that "this would never happen". Really, look what has been done with RICO.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 15, 2010 11:04 PM

Monique and Warren Faust,

The Department of Administration (DOA) Division of Information Technology (DOIT) is the controller of computers systems for the State of Rhode Island.

Before that all computer information was controlled by the Division of Libraries which believed all information is free and you don't really want to know how much information is floating out there on the internet right now! You'd be sick!!!!!

One problem the State of RI has is some management powers to be believe consultants have greater knowledge than the state computer workers who actually run the computers and program the information systems! With Governor Carcieri's changes to the retirement system State of RI lost a large number of long time knowledgeable computer programmers.

DOIT has always been a charge-back division in other words no state budget and when other departments and divisions experienced budget cuts guess who was eliminated first but still had to provide the services?

There are programmers that drive from Providence to another town to the state computer center to download data because it is faster than trying to do it across existing telecommunication data lines!

State of RI has not invested in upgrading its' information infrastructure!

Implement an Electronic Centralized Case Management System! Yea right---get in line with all the other divisions and departments that are looking to upgrade to 21st century via an unfunded department and by the way, if you are a state employee on the job for 30 years the consultant knows more than you!!!

Posted by: Ken at February 16, 2010 12:40 AM

Because doing his job is not on his agenda. He's too busy doing political favors for the Party machine and fundraising for his next race.

Posted by: BobN at February 16, 2010 6:25 PM

I never realized how compromised Patrick Lynch is.I think I got a clue when he tried to dissuade someone from running against Moreau in CF.The AG should stay out of things like that.It would be ok for his brother,who isn't a public official or law enforcement officer of the state.
Maybe it's time to get rid of the "legacy"politicians-"Plantations"in the state name was never truer-it's like we live on the plantation of the elitists and political families.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 17, 2010 5:27 AM

It is apparent after reading the entire RFP that this is a federal stimulus project. The intent of which was to employ people, hopfully Rhode Islanders, using federal recovery act funds. I guess you would have rather the AG opt not to apply for stimulus funding to help put Rhode Islanders back to work. Criticizing the AG for not employing the use of limited RI General Funds over the past eight years to build the system outlinned in the RFP is simply unjustified.

Posted by: even keel at February 17, 2010 9:57 PM

The RI Courts record keeping system is an absolute disgrace.

Posted by: doughboys at February 19, 2010 11:46 PM
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