Report 2011-129 Data Reliability Assessments

Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of
Description of Data Agency Purpose of Data
Offender Based Information System (OBIS)

To capture and maintain all adult offender information from the time that the offenders are committed to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Corrections) through the time of their discharge, OBIS subsystems track the following: commitments at the receiving centers, offender demographics, offenders movements, and release dates.

Magnitude of Data

As of March 2012, OBIS contains information related to more than 1.4 million offenders.

Purpose of Testing Data Reliability Determination

To identify the number of juvenile offenders within the adult prison population for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

To determine the number of juvenile offenders tried as adults and sent to state prison for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

Not Sufficiently Reliable—We performed data-set verification procedures and did not identify any issues.

We performed electronic testing of key data elements and identified an area of concern related to our audit objectives. Specifically, we identified a significant number of incomplete offense dates for offenders in the OBIS system. Without complete offense date information, we were unable to determine whether offenders were juveniles at the time they committed their offenses. As a result, we were not able to use OBIS to identify the number of juvenile offenders within the adult prison population or to identify the number of juveniles tried as adults and sent to state prison for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

We conducted a separate review of selected Corrections' system controls, which included general and business process application controls. During this review, we identified significant deficiencies in Corrections' general controls over its information systems. General controls support the functioning of business process application controls; both are needed to ensure complete and accurate information processing. If the general controls are inadequate, the business process application controls are unlikely to function properly and could be overridden. Due to persuasive weaknesses in Corrections' general controls, we did not perform any testing of the business process application controls. Consequently, until Corrections implements adequate general controls over its information systems, the completeness, accuracy, validity, and confidentiality of its data will continue to be at risk.

Agency Response Date March 2013
Corrective Action Recommended Status of Corrective Action

To increase the amount of information related to realignment and to allow stakeholders to identify the population of juvenile offenders sent directly to adult prison, Corrections should obtain complete offense dates from the courts, if possible.

Fully Implemented—Corrections' policies and procedures that require staff to request documents from the courts of complete offense dates are not listed. In addition, Corrections distributed guidance to staff to enter complete offense dates in its database when the information is received.

Description of Data Agency Purpose of Data
Offender Based Information Tracking System (OBITS)

OBITS is the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (Corrections) primary database for tracking and reporting data on youth under the jurisdiction of the Division of Juvenile Justice. This includes population characteristics, statistical reports and trends, actual confinement time, board actions, and facility/parole movements. This data is also used for the development of population projections, legislative proposals, and departmental planning for proposed budget needs.

Magnitude of Data

The OBITS system contains the most complete and current records of over 77,000 youthful offenders as of March 2012.

Purpose of Testing Data Reliability Determination

To identify the number of juvenile offenders supervised by the Division of Juvenile Justice (Juvenile Justice) who committed certain serious, violent, or sexual offenses and the number of juvenile offenders who committed non-serious and nonviolent offenses for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

To calculate the number of juvenile offenders within the adult prison population
for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

To determine the number of juveniles tried as adults and sent to state prison for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

Not Sufficiently Reliable—We performed data-set verification procedures and electronic testing of key data elements and did not identify any issues.

The OBITS data captures information on all juvenile offenders who have been supervised by Juvenile Justice. However, OBITS' data do not capture information on juvenile offenders who were tried as adults and sent directly to an adult prison without spending time in Juvenile Justice facilities. As a result, we were not able to use OBITS to identify the number of juvenile offenders within the adult prison population and categorize them by the type of crime committed, nor could we use OBITS to identify the number of juveniles tried as adults and sent to state prison for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

We recently conducted a separate review of selected Corrections' system controls, which included general and business process application controls. During this review, we identified significant deficiencies in Corrections' general controls over its information systems. General controls support the functioning of business process application controls; both are needed to ensure complete and accurate information processing. If the general controls are inadequate, the business process application controls are unlikely to function properly and could be overridden. Due to persuasive weaknesses in Corrections' general controls, we did not perform any testing of the business process application controls. Consequently, until Corrections implements adequate general controls over its information systems, the completeness, accuracy, validity, and confidentiality of its data will be at risk.

Corrective Action Recommended Status of Corrective Action
We did not recommend corrective action. N/A
Justice, Department of
Description of Data Agency Purpose of Data
Automated Criminal History System (criminal history system)

The criminal history system houses the personal description record, narrative and numeric data associated with criminal arrest, applicant, registration or custody fingerprint submissions sent to the California Department of Justice (Justice) for search through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The criminal history system also houses the disposition data that corresponds to arrest entries.

Magnitude of Data

As of April 2012 , the criminal history system contained over 71.2 million records pertaining to dispositions.

Purpose of Testing Data Reliability Determination

To determine the dispositions for juveniles tried as adults for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

Not Sufficiently Reliable—We experienced trouble in completing data-set verification procedures due to the fact that Justice counted the records in the criminal history system tables that it provided to us before it actually extracted the files from the system. Since the criminal history system is a live system, it is constantly updating. As a result, many of the record counts Justice provided to us do not match the number of records in the tables we used. They are, however, reasonably close.

We did not conduct accuracy and completeness testing on the data because Justice receives the data in the criminal history system from local law enforcement agencies, district attorney offices, and courts throughout California, making such testing impractical.

Many juvenile offenders in the criminal history system were erroneously categorized as having received adult dispositions. During our fieldwork, the assistant bureau chief in Justice's Bureau of Criminal Information and Analysis indicated that inconsistencies in training and procedural documentation, coupled with a heavy workload and high turnover, have led to Justice's technicians assigning adult disposition codes to juvenile records. In addition, Justice indicated that some local law enforcement agencies submit juvenile dispositions using adult disposition codes. However, Justice was unable to provide us with an example of an incorrect submission.

Agency Response Date September 2014
Corrective Action Recommended Status of Corrective Action

To ensure that its Automated Criminal History System (criminal history system) contains complete and accurate data related to juvenile offenders, Justice should implement a process to ensure that staff enter data correctly into the system.

Fully Implemented—Program staff reviewed all of the existing juvenile disposition codes available in the Automated Criminal History System (ACHS) and identified 11 disposition outcomes that required new juvenile disposition codes. With the request and implementation of these new codes, all juvenile disposition updates will have a unique juvenile code available for staff to perform their updates in the ACHS. The request for the new codes was submitted to DOJ technical staff and code creation was completed the first week of June 2013. On June 10, 2013, Criminal Offender Record Program management distributed an e-mail to all supervisory staff notifying them of the new codes. During that week, each supervisor met with their respective unit staff to discuss the implementation of the new codes and passed out hard copies of the new codes to be used effective immediately.

To ensure that its criminal history system contains complete and accurate data related to juvenile offenders, Justice should implement a procedure similar to the one it employs for the JCPSS to verify the accuracy of information the counties submit.

Fully Implemented—The Hawkins Data Center (HDC) provided juvenile cycle data and the first data sampling was completed in May 2014. DOJ sampled 50 cycles and identified four cycles, or 8% that were updated with incorrect disposition codes. In each case, the juvenile record cycles were updated with the same incorrect adult disposition code instead of the appropriate corresponding juvenile disposition code. All of the cycles sampled were corrected to reflect the appropriate juvenile disposition codes. Staff responsible were made aware of the errors, reminded to use juvenile disposition codes on juvenile cycles, and provided with the list of new juvenile disposition codes in a staff meeting. DOJ will produce another sampling of 50 juvenile cycles in November 2014.

To ensure that DOJ's criminal history system contains complete and accurate data for juvenile offenders, the HDC provided statistics from the Department's ACHS showing agencies with a decline in juvenile disposition submissions for an eight month period.

Using these statistics, the CJSC identified a group of Juvenile Courts which showed declined submissions and contacted them via telephone/email to determine the reason for the decline. All of the Juvenile Courts contacted either did not know why there was a decrease in submissions or suggested that the decline is likely a result of new juvenile filings having decreased and/or their courts being under staffed.

Description of Data Agency Purpose of Data
Juvenile Court and Probation Statistical System (JCPSS)

JCPSS is designed to collect, compile, and report statistical data on the administration of juvenile justice in California. It provides information on a juvenile's process through the juvenile justice system from probation intake to final case disposition.

Magnitude of Data

As of April 2012, JCPSS contained over 3.7 million records regarding offenses and the disposition of each offense of juveniles referred to a county probation department.

Purpose of Testing Data Reliability Determination

To determine the total number of first-time and repeat juvenile offenders in each county for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

To determine the number of first-time and repeat juvenile offenders in each county who had their cases direct filed or remanded to adult court for fiscal years 2003-04 through 2010-11.

Undetermined Reliability—We performed data-set verification procedures and electronic testing of key data elements and did not identify any issues.

We did not conduct accuracy and completeness testing on the data because the Department of Justice receives the data in the JCPSS from 57 of 58 counties' probation departments located throughout California, making such testing impractical.

Corrective Action Recommended Status of Corrective Action
We did not recommend corrective action. N/A

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