IJIS Institute Develops First Standards-based “Proof of Concept” for Montana’s Victim Notification Service

For Immediate Release

IJIS Institute Develops First Standards-based “Proof of Concept” for Montana’s Victim Notification Service

Montana’s Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) standard enhances information sharing capabilities among criminal justice agencies and Victim Notification Systems

Ashburn, VA, (August 22, 2013). The IJIS Institute—a nonprofit organization that focuses on mission-critical information sharing for justice, public safety, and homeland security—announces the successful enhancement of the information sharing capabilities of Montana’s Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) program. The project was funded by a technical assistance (TA) grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

The SAVIN program, which has either been implemented or is in the process of being implemented in 47 states, provides the ability for victims and the public to access information on offenders who are incarcerated in local and state facilities, under community supervision, or have a pending court case; and, also allows for automated notification of changes in their custody status or legal proceedings.

Montana served as a pilot site for the SAVIN Service Specification Package (SSP) development. Using Department of Corrections (DOC) data as the “proof of concept” implementation, the project demonstrated that the SAVIN SSP was able to facilitate a National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) and Global Reference Architecture (GRA)-conformant standard for exchanges of offender data from the criminal justice ‘notifying agency’ system to the Victim Notification System (VNS). The main result of this implementation has been the increased data integrity and consistency of receipt and processing by the VNS when new or updated data is sent from the system of origin. This has permitted Montana to eliminate inconsistencies in data definitions, terms, and formatting of data from one system to the other.

Additionally, this work will allow for easy adoption by any state or local jurisdiction to establish and expand services offered through SAVIN programs by providing a preliminary set of design specifications and artifacts for any provider or agency to follow – regardless of the SAVIN system solution used.

“By adopting the standardized enterprise exchange model, victims are provided with timely status information and notification of key events putting them in control of the information they receive. It also helps criminal justice agencies meet their statutory requirements for victim notification, saving time, effort and, perhaps, lives,” said Joan Eliel, program specialist for the Montana Dept. of Justice, Office of Consumer Protection and Victim Services.

To facilitate the work, a SAVIN Subject Matter Expert (SME) Committee was formed to provide guidance in the development of the SAVIN business and technical requirements, and to review and provide feedback on all documents developed during the project. The Committee was comprised of SAVIN practitioners, IT professionals in criminal justice, victim advocates, and crime victims.

Steve Ambrosini, executive director of the IJIS Institute commended the work of the SME Committee, “We are gratified that so many practitioners, crime victims, victim advocates, and IT professionals stepped forward and volunteered their time for this important task. I especially want to recognize: John Dougherty, CIO for the Montana DOC as the lead technical committee member; Pat Tuthill, executive director of the Peyton Tuthill Foundation who provided perspective on the importance of community supervision notifications; and, Sue Russell, a crime victim herself, who provided a victim’s perspective.” Ambrosini further stated, “It is important to note that Sue uses the Vermont SAVIN on a regular basis to both retrieve information on her offenders and to receive notification of upcoming events or movements of her offenders within the corrections system.”

The IJIS Institute partners on the Montana SAVIN project were URL Integration and Appriss, Inc. URL Integration was responsible for the business and technical requirements for the SAVIN data exchanges. Appriss, the original SAVIN system developer, worked with Montana and URL Integration to eliminate inconsistencies in data to ensure its integrity and consistency from the point of origin to the Victim Notification Service.

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About the IJIS InstituteThe IJIS Institute unites the private and public sectors to improve mission-critical information sharing for those who protect and serve our communities. The IJIS Institute provides training, technical assistance, national scope issue management, and program management services to help government fully realize the power of information sharing. Founded in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with national headquarters on The George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, the IJIS Institute has grown to over 280 member companies and individual associates from government, non-profit, and educational institutions from across the United States. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.ijis.org/; follow us on Twitter @ijisinstitute; read the IJIS Factor Blog; or, join us on LinkedIn at Justice and Public Safety Information Sharing.

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