California - - Where do criminal justice data live in your state?


Criminal justice information in California is largely inaccessible via public records laws. Gathering any significant information requires the approval of agencies to whom California law grants wide discretion in deciding to permit public inspection or release of records.

Where do criminal justice data live in your state?

Criminal History Data

The California Department of Justice (CADOJ) maintains criminal history record information collected primarily from law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices. Data are collected and reported in a variety of formats by the local agencies, including many on paper records that are then transcribed by CADOJ staff. This creates barriers to consistently matching and linking individuals and cases from different agencies.

Court Data

California courts are currently in the process of transitioning to standardized case management systems, with all courts on or moving onto one of four case management systems approved by the California Judicial Council. While each county superior court is responsible for reporting to the Judicial Council, there is no statewide court data repository.

Corrections Data

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) tracks individual-level data on all individuals sent to prison and/or released into parole in California, including admission and release dates and reasons, and supervision start and completion dates.

Other Known Data Sources

In addition to these statewide criminal justice data systems, each local city- or county-level criminal justice agency collects its own data. These include 58 sheriff's offices, superior courts, probation departments, and district attorneys across California’s 58 counties; in some of California’s largest counties, city attorney’s offices prosecute and track data on misdemeanors.
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