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23May2016

SEARCH Offers Resource for Developing Common Charge Tables

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As system interoperability grows, it is important for justice stakeholders to share charge information in order to improve the overall accuracy of the respective data systems involved in the justice process.

However, the justice community has developed multiple ways to represent and describe offenses in their data systems—in fact, such terms as “offenses,” “crimes,” and “charges” are often used interchangeably. These differences underscore the need to align charge data between data systems.

Bridging disparate systems is best accomplished by developing and maintaining a common charge table—a shared set of definitions that all stakeholders can use. These tables add fidelity to the data being increasingly shared among justice system actors. In addition, stakeholders can map the charges to the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), which enables them to more effectively share data with other states.

SEARCH has prepared a new Technical Brief as a resource to stakeholders seeking to develop common charge tables. It analyzes a collection of common charge tables used in six states to determine the core elements a charge table should include, and identifies appropriate NIEM elements for each.

SEARCH prepared this Technical Brief under funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. It was authored by Information Sharing Programs Director Mark Perbix.

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Karen Lissy

Ms. Karen Lissy is a Justice Information Services Specialist for the Law and Policy Program of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. In this position, she provides assistance to state and local justice and public safety agencies to collect, curate, and use National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data and computerized criminal history record (CCH/CHRI) information for policy analysis and development.

She also guides justice and related organizations in how to craft and implement laws, policies, practices, and technology applications to effectively collect and use CCH and related justice/public safety data; address legal, policy, and regulatory issues associated with CCH data; better manage and operate criminal justice information and identification systems; and develop security and privacy policies that protect justice information sharing systems.

Ms. Lissy has nearly two decades of research and data analysis experience, having led projects and tasks in support of two agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Institute of Justice), as well as the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and multiple foundations, including Ford, Annie E. Casey, and Hewlett. Prior to joining SEARCH in October 2020, Ms. Lissy served as a Social Science Researcher at RTI International, as a regional Crime Analyst for the Redmond (WA) Police Department, and as Director of a research program with the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. Beginning in 2012, Ms. Lissy’s work has focused on improving data in law enforcement to answer policy questions and improve community/police relations.

Ms. Lissy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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