Abstract of Judgment
Project OverviewIn January 2010, the state of Indiana began work to develop a data-driven criminal justice policy framework for the state and formed the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission. In December 2010, the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, in conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the U.S. Department of Justice and the PEW Center on the States, published a report titled Justice Reinvestment in Indiana: Summary Report & Policy Framework (http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/reports/CCECDB1.pdf). This report summarized the findings of data collection throughout the state, and made recommendation on how to improve Indiana’s justice system.
As a result of the report’s findings, and due to concerns with the validity of data utilized in the PEW study, Representative Ralph Foley established the Data Analysis Work Group (DAWG) to provide accurate data concerning criminal offenders. The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) has further supported these efforts and encouraged the electronic storage and transmission of certain data and documents to make procedures more efficient and allow for more accurate data. During the 2012 legislative session, the General Assembly enacted Indiana Code 35-38-1-31 [effective July 1, 2012], which states that “if a court imposes on a person convicted of a felony a sentence that involves a commitment to the Department of Correction, the court shall complete an abstract of judgment in an electronic format approved by the Department of Correction and the Division of State Court Administration”. Although the Abstract of Judgment was a paper document already in place and required by the courts to be completed for all DOC commitments, the new statute added additional requirements and data elements that were not found in the previous Abstract of Judgment document, and in some cases, these data elements were not collected in the various court case management systems.
In May 2012, the Indiana Supreme Court amended the Indiana Criminal Rules of Procedure with the addition of Rule 15.2, effective July 1, 2012. This rule states that “upon sentencing a person for any felony conviction, the court shall complete an abstract of judgment in an electronic format approved by the Division of State Court Administration”. However, on June 28, 2012, Chief Justice Dickson signed an Order directing trial courts “to make all best efforts to comply [with Criminal Rule 15.2 for non-DOC commitments] as soon as practicable for those defendants, but no later than December 31, 2012”.
The Supreme Court developed the electronic Abstract of Judgment Application, which is housed in the Offender Management System in INcite, under the direction of the Records Management Committee. Court Technology also worked with a sub-committee of judges, a circuit court clerk, the Prosecuting Attorneys Council, the Public Defenders Council, the Indiana Department of Correction and the Indiana Judicial Center on this project. As a result of IC 35-38-1-31 and Criminal Rule 15.2, statewide conviction and sentencing data will be readily available to the courts, legislators and other policy makers. Additionally, all trial courts in the state now have a standardized, electronic method for transmitting sentencing information for all offenders committed to the Department of Correction.
How it WorksIn 2010, the Indiana Judicial Conference approved a revised, standardized presentence investigation (PSI) report to be used by all probation departments in the state. Court Technology then worked with the Probation Officer Advisory Board and Judicial Center staff to develop a new INcite application to house the revised PSI report (information regarding the INcite Presentence Investigation Report Application can be found at: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/admin/2932.htm). The PSI Report and the associated risk assessment are intended to provide the sentencing judge with information about an offender’s potential risks and needs, allowing the trial court to provide an appropriate sentence, supervision plan and treatment services. The Abstract of Judgment section in the Offender Management System was built to pull information from the PSI report and utilize the same offender record and case details that were initially entered by the probation officer. The integration of the two applications allows the users to avoid duplicate data entry and helps ensure the accuracy of the information.
The Abstract of Judgment contains a Case Overview and five Abstract sections. Users are required to enter all charges and amended charges (if applicable) for the case, dispose of each count, and provide the sentencing information for each convicted charge. Additional questions in the Abstract of Judgment provide the DOC with information pertaining to dates the offender was confined prior to sentencing, whether the sentence was a result of a revocation of community supervision, whether the offender is a credit restricted felon, and whether the offender is required to return to the court for probation supervision upon release. The courts have the ability to attach the Judgment of Conviction and Sentencing Order to the case, enabling DOC staff to have all the information required by statute to expedite the intake process for a person who has been sentenced to the Department.
Two user-friendly tools were incorporated into the Abstract of Judgment application: the Court Calendar and the Abstract Queue. The Court Calendar displays a monthly or daily view of all cases scheduled for sentencing in a particular court. Information in this view appears as a result of data entered in the PSI Report regarding the scheduled sentencing hearing date. The Abstract Queue is a tool to be utilized by the county jail users and DOC staff to monitor and manage completed Abstracts of Judgment for DOC commitments. DOC users can adjust the status of the Abstract and indicate when the offender has been processed by DOC, or even flag a level 6 felony Abstract that cannot be committed to DOC as outlined by IC 35-38-3-3.
- Application and tools are free to all agencies.
- Data elements ensure compliance with additions to the Abstract of Judgment as outlined in IC 35-38-1-31.
- Statewide conviction and sentencing information for felonies will be available for analysis by the judiciary, legislators and other policy makers.
- DOC can retrieve through a secure location via the Internet all documents needed for processing an offender.
- Faster and more accurate communication between the courts, county jails and the DOC.
- Validation and rules of the application ensure compliance with sentencing statutes.
- Every jurisdiction has access to felony conviction information statewide.
For more information about this initiative, visit: Abstract of Judgment, Offender Management System