SA asks for help with criminal justice IT overhaul

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SA asks for help with criminal justice IT overhaul

Discussion paper released ahead of major reform.

The SA government has opened up consultation on the use of technology in the criminal justice system as it prepares a slate of IT-related projects across the justice cluster.

The state government today issued a discussion paper [pdf] outlining potential improvements to the exchange, timeliness and accuracy of information across the whole criminal justice system.

The review is part of the state government’s broader "transforming criminal justice" reform program, which seeks to modernise and reform the criminal justice system in a co-ordinated, whole-of-government fashion across agencies and departments.

The program is based on the concept that reform in the criminal justice system has historically happened separately within different organisations, resulting in costs and risks being shifted between agencies without solving problems.

In IT, the reform program seeks to offer more online services, allow audio-visual court attendances, make it easier to access up-to-date records, transition to electronic lodgement, go paperless, improve electronic information exchange, and boost productivity.

Initiatives either currently underway or in planning include a new $20 million statewide electronic case management syste,, which went out to tender in January; a new, electronic booking system for prisons; a trial of audio visual appearances for lawyers; and an online platform platform for legal aid and claims for fees.

The state is also working on an "e-brief project", intended to improve information sharing between organisations using a sector-wide cloud-based software system, as well as a new prosecution management system which has already received $2.2 million in funding.

SA Attorney-General John Rau said the discussion paper was seeking community feedback about work that is currently underway as well as potential initiatives to improve the sharing of information.

“We need to improve connections for all participants in the criminal justice system to ensure that information is available, current, consistent and easy to understand," Rau said in a statement.

“Feedback received through the discussion paper will enable us look at ways in which improved information sharing, through better business practice and use of technology, can deliver better criminal justice services to the South Australian community.”

The consultation process is open until April 30, and responses to the discussion paper can be lodged through the yoursay.sa.gov.au website.

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