John Keel, CPA
Texas State Auditor
An Audit Report on the Criminal Justice Information System at the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Report Number 12-002
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) have improved the quality of data in the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) since the State Auditor's Office's February 2006 audit of CJIS. However, DPS should make additional improvements to the completeness of its criminal history records.
This audit focused on DPS's Computerized Criminal History System and TDCJ's Corrections Tracking System, which are two components of CJIS.
DPS's Computerized Criminal History System
As of January 2011, prosecutor offices and courts had submitted disposition records to the Computerized Criminal History System for 73.68 percent of arrests made in 2009. That is an improvement from the 71.00 percent submission rate the State Auditor's Office audit reported in February 2006. However, the 73.68 percent submission rate indicates that data in DPS's Computerized Criminal History System is not complete, and users may not receive a reliable result from criminal history background checks that are conducted based on the data in that system. DPS also should improve the timeliness and accuracy of the data in its Computerized Criminal History System. It is important to note that DPS does not have authorization to take administrative action to penalize criminal justice agencies that do not submit criminal records.
A significant number of prosecutor and court records are not reported to DPS, which impairs the quality of information that DPS uses to conduct criminal history background checks. For example, 1,634 (7.65 percent) of 21,351 offenders whom TDCJ admitted to jail, prison, or probation in November 2010 did not have corresponding prosecutor and court records in DPS's Computerized Criminal History System. In addition, information that DPS provides as part of its criminal history background checks does not include probation records.
DPS also should strengthen controls to ensure that only authorized users can access and modify records in its Computerized Criminal History System.
TDCJ's Corrections Tracking System
While TDCJ has made improvements to its records of offenders on probation, more improvements are needed to ensure that data in TDCJ's Corrections Tracking System is complete, accurate, and up to date. Specifically, some records do not have a state identification number or an arrest incident number as required by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 60.052. Additionally, users at local probation departments in 120 (47.24 percent) of the 254 counties in Texas do not view arrest records associated with the notifications that TDCJ sends to them when an offender on probation or parole is arrested.
TDCJ also should strengthen controls to ensure that only authorized users can access and modify records in the Corrections Tracking System.
Auditors communicated other, less significant issues to DPS and TDCJ management separately in writing.
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