As system interoperability grows, it is important for justice stakeholders to share charge information in order to improve the overall accuracy of the respective data systems involved in the justice process.

However, the justice community has developed multiple ways to represent and describe offenses in their data systems—in fact, such terms as “offenses,” “crimes,” and “charges” are often used interchangeably. These differences underscore the need to align charge data between data systems.

Bridging disparate systems is best accomplished by developing and maintaining a common charge table—a shared set of definitions that all stakeholders can use. These tables add fidelity to the data being increasingly shared among justice system actors. In addition, stakeholders can map the charges to the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), which enables them to more effectively share data with other states.

SEARCH has prepared a new Technical Brief as a resource to stakeholders seeking to develop common charge tables. It analyzes a collection of common charge tables used in six states to determine the core elements a charge table should include, and identifies appropriate NIEM elements for each.

SEARCH prepared this Technical Brief under funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. It was authored by Information Sharing Programs Director Mark Perbix.