Supreme Court Requests $4 Million for Critical Improvements to State's Judicial Information System

December 11, 2002

Citing statewide public safety concerns, the Washington Supreme Court has requested funding for critical improvements to the State’s Judicial Information System (JIS) in its proposed 2003-05 budget.

“We are at a true crossroads for the future of statewide court records,” said JIS Committee Chair Justice Bobbe J. Bridge. “In its current state, JIS simply cannot continue to operate without compromising public safety.”

As the primary information system for courts, JIS serves as the statewide clearinghouse for criminal history information, such as domestic violence protection orders and outstanding warrants. JIS also provides essential data to the Washington State Patrol, Department of Corrections, local law enforcement and prosecutors.

Created in the 1970’s, the current JIS system utilizes obsolete technology which is now putting the statewide records system at risk and increasing basic maintenance costs.

The Administrative Office of the Courts is now in the second phase of a 6-year, $32 million dollar project to transform JIS to a web-based information system. Since the JIS System is funded entirely from user fees, a majority of the improvements are funded from existing appropriations. Only $4 million in additional funds from the Public Safety and Education Account (PSEA) is required this upcoming biennium. (The PSEA Account is funded through civil filing fees, traffic tickets and criminal fines, and is not a part of the state's general fund.)

If funded, the upgraded JIS System will integrate criminal justice data and include digital justice programs to better serve the public. The improvements will also help to protect the statewide database by deterring individual courts from defecting from the system.

If fully-funded in the following biennia, the proposal would also include a “data warehouse” allowing queries of public information directly from the JIS system. Current requests require the filing of a data dissemination request form and payment for programming hours of individual JIS programmers.

The JIS system provides primary information systems and administrative support for all levels of the judiciary, including the municipal, district, superior, and juvenile courts, as well as the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Further information regarding the JIS System can be found at

CONTACTS: Mary McQueen, Washington State Court Administrator, 360-357-2120; Tom Clarke, ISD Director, 360-705-5304; or Wendy Ferrell, Communications Manager 360-705-5331.


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