THE PREVENTION OF CRIME AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS IN ISRAEL: 1995 REPORT

COMPUTERIZATION OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN ISRAEL

This article briefly describes the main computerized systems in use within the criminal justice system in Israel.

Characteristics of the Israel Police Computerization System

The INP is a highly centralized organization. The natural centralizing tendency of a hierarchical, rigidly structured body is reinforced by the small dimensions of the country. That it takes only a short time to get from one side of Israel to the other means that local databanks are of little use: all operational information has to be accessible from all police stations.

The goal of computerization in the police force is to ensure that the relevant information will be at a policeman’s disposal whenever he needs it, wherever he is, and in such a form as to provide the best contribution to the decision/action he has to take.

Schematically, one can say that the two major entities the police deals with are People and Events. The INP treats the two entities in different ways and at a different level of intensity. An event can be anything from a traffic ticket to a murder case. A target person can be anything from someone acting strangely to a wanted criminal. Different systems handle the different elements of police work and the information relating to the two elements, people and events, is of different kinds.

There now follow brief outlines of the main computerized databases used by the INP.

Criminal Records

This system maintains records of criminal offenses including type of offense, verdict, appeals, dates. It is linked to the Events File, which permits analyses of patterns of crime.

Wanted Persons

Wanted persons are registered by the system on-line from any part of the country and the system automatically emits a warning whenever any question is asked about a wanted person in any of the other computerized databanks. For instance, if a question arises regarding a vehicle owned by the wanted person, the system will give a warning.

Missing Persons

Missing persons are registered by the system on-line from any part of the country and the system automatically emits a warning whenever any question is asked about a missing person in any of the other computerized databanks.

Lost/Stolen Property

Information about lost/stolen property is fed into the computer on-line by means of an interactive questionnaire designed by the Division of Criminal Identification and Forensic Science. Data retrieval is by means of a unique code or by a general description, including text.

Stolen Vehicles

The INP records all stolen vehicles on the basis of its computerized copy of the National Vehicle Registry. Warning that a vehicle has been reported stolen is automatically emitted with every enquiry made about that particular vehicle.

Intelligence Data

Intelligence data on events and persons recorded in the system can be retrieved by free text. The Intelligence file is not linked to other criminal files.

Detentions/Arrests – Current and Historical

Current arrests are recorded along with the expected date of release. A warning is automatically given when that date is imminent. Arrest records are kept for some years.

Criminal Events File

The Events File contains all criminal events (except misdemeanors) registered since 1972. The record includes details such as: date, time of day, day of week, identification of suspects, etc. This file is the basis of most crime statistics. This file/system and Criminal History Record File (see above) are linked so as to generate both management and operational statistics.

Mug File

This system permits data retrieval by textual description on all persons contained in the "police photo album" and then shows the photographs of all persons answering the description. The system makes a relative "weighting" of each identification feature, thus providing a solution to the problem of quantifying the uncertainty level of each identification. Technology developed by IBM Israel for first compressing and then spreading-out data ensures excellent photo quality.

Warrants and Orders

This system permits continuous management of all warrants and orders by generating daily/weekly lists of such warrants and orders, compiled according to the beat area of individual police officers.

Traffic Offenses and Citations

All traffic offenses are fed in daily, in batches, from police stations around the country. The statistics generated serve for file follow-up, enforcement of fine payment and for decision making.

Hit and Run Incidents

Given the description of a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident

(color, parts of license-plate number, etc.) this system can list all vehicles registered that match the description, along with the owners’ identity.

Computerization of Police Stations

The planned general computerization of police stations will cover all stages of the investigative process and all the station’s activities. The system will probably be decentralized, composed of local networks linked to the main-frame computer.

Command and Control System

This system (currently being installed) is intended to improve control of and supply information about daily police activity. At a later stage, the INP hopes to have mobile terminals in police vehicles able to both access the main files and communicate with the Command and Control Room.

Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)

The system comprises three units: a Reception and Registration Unit, a Storage Unit on optical discs comprising three databanks (the 2-Print Bank, the 10-Print Bank and the Unsolved Latents Bank) and holding 380,000 fingerprint records in digital form, and a Checking Unit. This last conducts four types of search 10-prints against 10-prints, new 10-prints against unsolved latents, latents against 10-prints, and latents against unsolved latents. At the end of every search, the system puts up a ranked list of candidates for possible matching by the system operator.

Ministry of Police

Complaints of Police and Prison Personnel

The system permits the management of a complaint registered with the Ministry by a member of the INP or the Prison Service, from intake until final disposition. It also generates statistical analysis by type of complaint, details of complainant, etc.

Complaints by Members of the Public against Police/Prison Staff

This system stores all complaints from members of the public received by the Ministry, according to category of complaint, details of the police/prison officer involved (name, rank, position, etc.) and permits administration of the complaint from intake until final disposition. It can also generate statistics.

International Relations Database

The database contains all external organizations, institutes and companies that have relations with the Ministry their expertise, the contact-person, the person with whom contact was first made, details of correspondence and current contacts.

Israel Prison Service

Prison Database

A registry of all inmates in the prison system by prison, cell, classification, demographic and other details. It also supplies details of all movements of prisoners inside the system and outside it; supplies scheduling and notification of court calls for prisoners or calls to other decision-making bodies; contains all details of prisoner home leave, disciplinary action, free days; runs the system of population segregation; contains a sub-system holding data on security activity and incidents in prisons; contains the decisions of various committees e.g. on classification, intake, release; generates a total mobilization schedule of the whole prison population for planning and resource allocation.

Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Adult Probation Service

The database contains personal information of those under probation, description of the offense, and details regarding the intervention made. The system allows for the administration of the service including output of statistical data.

Juvenile Probation Service

1) The database contains personal information of those under probation; description of the offense and details regarding the intervention made. The system distributes the casework between the Probation Service workers, according to their work load. The system allows for statistical analyses.

2) The Decision-Support System assists the probation officer to make decisions regarding intervention recommendations. (See separate article regarding this System, by L. Eden in this chapter).

Ministry of Justice

Registry of Private Investigators and Security Personnel

Contains a listing of all persons licensed to operate a private security firm or to work as a private investigator. It also generates the yearly licensing form sent to investigators for payment.

Workstations for Attorneys

These workstations provide access to and data retrieval from databanks containing official judgements, laws and regulations, legal briefs, court protocols, and local data; dossier management capabilities include information management, integration of data from different sources, personal scheduler, printing of official forms, accounting tools and others.

Extradition

The system provides all details of persons awaiting extradition (either from or to Israel) and can generate letters, notices, forms and tables.

New Legislation

The system documents the process of new and proposed legislation, its current status and the stages accomplished. It also provides historical data of legislation passed.

Pardons

The system permits documentation and management of the process of pardoning tried and sentenced offenders, from the initial application until the Ministerial Advisory Committee’s recommendation to the State President.

Prisoner’s Release from Incarceration

The system permits documentation and management of the process of applications to the Ministerial Committee for Prisoners’ Release from the first application until the Committee’s final decision.

Appeals to the Supreme Court

The system permits documentation and management of the appeals process and the monitoring of particular appeals.

Prosecutions

The system permits the management and monitoring of all criminal files

(civil cases will be added later) being handled by prosecutors, at whatever court; it has the capacity to generate notices and organize timetables for prosecutors, judges and courts. Information may be extracted from files by free text entry.

Legal Aid

Accessible from the three main prosecutor offices, the system computerizes the management and monitoring of all files in which legal aid has been allowed to the defendant/s.

Israeli Law and Legal Precedents

Allows retrieval of all legislation passed since 1948 (similar to the LEXIS system).

The Courts Administration

Court Orders and Warrants

This system permits the management and monitoring of court orders and generates general statistical data. A linked work-station generates and sends out notices to citizens. The system also manages all bonds deposited in courts and payment orders sent to persons in lieu of court orders.

Supreme Court Management System

Permits management and monitoring of all files and generates statistical analyses.

Traffic Offenses

Permits organization of Traffic Court timetable on basis of data tapes containing all traffic citations handed out by police; can generate notifications of driving license revocation.

Wills Management

Stores the details of all wills deposited with the courts; every 3 months, automatically checks records of deaths (received from the Ministry of the Interior) against list of stored wills.

Court Management

Allows docketing, indexing, scheduling, timetabling, generation of notifications, statistics and warrants; a sub-system manages all payments and accounts at court and individual file level and generates reports to Ministry accountants.

Debt Execution Orders

This system links together the 23 Debt Execution Offices in the country. It permits case management, management and monitoring of all payments, monitoring of stores inventory and the generation of national statistics on debtors.

Judge’s Work Station

This experimental system permits each judge to follow the work of the courtroom protocol transcriber, as well as allowing the storing and cataloguing of exhibits (by optical scanning) and the retrieval of previous protocols and all necessary judicial data (legislation and judgements).