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Other Matters: The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office Needs To Update Its Case Management System.

Audit warned that the case management system used by CIDA is not equipped to provide critical data about young people involved with the criminal justice system.

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The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office (CIDA) currently uses the District Attorney Management Information Office Network (DAMION) case management system to perform a variety of tasks, including maintaining case, victim, and witness information and tracking court events. DAMION was implemented by the Massachusetts District Attorney Association (MDAA)1 for all 11 district attorneys’ offices. Each office can customize the system to some extent to meet its own needs.

In April 2018, the Governor signed Chapter 69 of the Acts of 2018 into law. Section 89(b) of Chapter 69 created the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board (JJPAD). JJPAD is charged with collecting juvenile offender data, including age, gender, racial or ethnic category, and type of crime, from criminal justice agencies that have contact with juvenile offenders. The legislation states,

The board shall analyze and make a recommendation on the feasibility of the [Office of the Child Advocate, which is charged with ensuring the wellbeing of juveniles] creating and annually updating an instrument to record aggregate statistical data for every contact a juvenile has with . . . criminal justice agencies.

In June 2019, in accordance with Section 89(b) of Chapter 69, JJPAD issued a report titled Improving Access to Massachusetts Juvenile Justice System Data. The report expressed serious concerns about district attorneys’ ability to use DAMION to give JJPAD all the information it needs to meet its responsibilities:

The database used by the District Attorneys (“DAMION”) is several decades old and not currently capable of tracking all of the data requested by the Legislature.

Further, CIDA officials told the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) that MDAA had told staff members at each district attorney’s office that the software company that provided technical support for DAMION might stop doing so in the near future. However, no specific date has been identified.

Based on these facts, if CIDA does not replace its case management system, it may soon be unable to meet its operational needs or give JJPAD the information it needs to comply with Chapter 69 of the Acts of 2018. Therefore, OSA believes that CIDA needs to continue to work with MDAA and the other district attorneys’ offices to implement a new case management system as soon as possible.

1.     MDAA was established under Section 20D of Chapter 12 of the Massachusetts General Laws to provide administrative and technological support to each of the 11 district attorneys’ offices in the Commonwealth.

Date published: March 3, 2021