The Orleans Parish Information Sharing and Integrated Systems program (OPISIS) is a collaborative initiative which seeks to improve the criminal justice system by improving the timeliness, quality and completeness of information at all stages of the justice process. A recent Department of Justice-sponsored technical assistance report found that OPISIS has achieved an unprecedented degree of cooperation among stakeholders and has effectively launched the future information sharing environment for the Orleans Parish criminal justice system. 

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, most criminal justice agencies developed or purchased computer-based information systems independently of one another. Data exchanges among, and often within, agencies were largely manual. Insufficient and inaccurate data affected the work of judges, prosecutors, detectives, and other key criminal justice professionals.

Post-Katrina, a new model emerged through the OPISIS program.  Beginning in 2005, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation launched a planning process that formed the basis of what was to become the first phase of OPISIS. Rather than focusing on agency-specific issues, the OPISIS program sought to address cross-agency “pressure points” that affected the performance of the justice system as a whole such as redundant data entry, subpoena delivery failures and inadequate evidence tracking and control systems

To-date, OPISIS has fulfilled many of its initial objectives and achieved significant improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system. Major information systems completed or near completion include the Electronic Subpoena System, Crime Analysis System, Automated Evidence Management System, Investigative Case Management System and the Criminal Justice Data Exchange Server. Outcomes include electronic exchanges of case information between the Police Department and District Attorney, reductions in wasted NOPD overtime, improved compliance with court subpoenas, cutting-edge analytic tools for officers and improved controls to prevent the loss or theft of criminal evidence.

While major progress has been made under OPISIS, more work is needed to achieve a fully integrated, state-of-the-art justice information system.  NOPJF and our criminal justice partners are dedicated to building on the early achievements of OPISIS to fulfill the program’s core promise: a fully integrated information environment that provides the timely and accurate data necessary for informed decision making throughout the criminal justice process.  This, in turn, will enable the efficient, effective and fair criminal justice system that our citizens deserve.

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