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


Criminal justice information in Washington is moderately accessible via public records. Individual records, be they court, criminal history, or corrections records are generally accessible under public records laws, subject to typical privacy restrictions. Bulk record information requires entering into agreements with the state agencies who maintain those records and is subject to their discretion / approval.

Where do criminal justice data live in your state?

Criminal History Data

Washington State Patrol (WA-HP) maintains a database of criminal history record information (CHRI) collected from the Washington State Identification System (WASIS) and Washington State Crime Information Center (WACIC) databases and its own Automated Biometric Information System (ABIS) database.

Court Data

Washington’s 39 counties are divided into 32 Judicial Districts. Generally speaking, each Judicial District has a Superior Court, which hears felony cases, and at least one District or Municipal Court that hears misdemeanor cases. Though Washington’s court system is not unified, Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (WA-AOC) collects record-level data from all three of these types of court: Superior, District, and Municipal.

Corrections Data

The Washington Department of Corrections (WA-DOC) is responsible for overseeing the state’s 12 adult prisons as well as supervising individuals under correctional supervision, including those on parole and probation. The DOC collects individual-level data on all individuals in prison or under community supervision in the state of Washington.

Other Known Data Sources

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC)’s Jail Booking and Reporting System (JBRS) and the Washington State Institute of Public Policy (WSIPP) serve as two additional centralized data sources in the state of Washington. Every city and county jail in Washington is connected to the JBRS, providing data from jails and law enforcement agencies across the state. Though not a public agency subject to public records laws, WASPC publishes and makes certain aggregate data available via their website. The Washington State Institute of Public Policy (WSIPP) is a public research group that conducts research, primarily for the legislature. Though many of the records WSIPP holds are record-level criminal justice data, they obtain this data through data-sharing agreements that restrict the use of these data and require consent of originating agencies to obtain. In addition to these consolidated criminal justice data systems, each local city- or county-level criminal justice agency maintains its own data. Jails (both county and municipal), sheriffs offices, prosecuting attorneys, and public defenders collect and record certain data, but there is no known standardization in format or content of what is collected. Some agencies have electronic case-management systems but many have no electronic records system and rely on paper records. As of 2008, there are 204 local police departments throughout Washington, each employing at least one full-time officer and collecting its own arrest data to some extent.
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