Where do criminal justice data live in your state?
Criminal History Data
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), a Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), is charged with overseeing the state’s criminal history repository called the Criminal History System (CHS). The state requires local law enforcement agencies to report information on all felony and gross misdemeanor arrests to the BCA for inclusion in the CHS. Other misdemeanor offenses may be included, depending on whether local law enforcement chooses to report this information. Law enforcement data is later supplemented by conviction and disposition information from the Judicial Branch, as well as custody and probation information from the DOC.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch maintains case information from the state’s trial courts in the Minnesota Court Information System (MNCIS). Certain public information from the MNCIS is made available via the online Minnesota Trial Court Public Access (MPS) case look-up system. In addition, the Judicial Branch works with researchers to fulfill public bulk data requests, and offers interactive data dashboards, which include statistical summaries on annual case filings.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) collects and maintains admission and release information for all adults under the authority of the DOC. This includes individuals housed in one of the Department’s ten correctional facilities and those supervised by DOC field agents via probation and parole. The DOC’s Records Management Unit is tasked with managing this data, which lives in the correctional operations management system (COMS). In addition to this case-level data, the DOC makes several different types of reports available to the public, including daily facility “inmate profile reports”, which provide a glimpse into the DOC population.
Other Known Data Sources
Each local city- or county-level criminal justice agency maintains its own data. Each of Minnesota’s 87 counties are represented by a Sheriff as well as a County Attorney, all collecting their own county jail and prosecution data, respectively. To MFJ’s knowledge, there is no centralization of this information beyond the consolidated systems noted above. As of 2008, there are 346 local police departments throughout Minnesota, each employing at least one full-time officer and collecting its own arrest data to some extent.