In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media by the state auditor’s office.
BOSTON – Today, June 17, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump’s Office released an audit of the Adult Diversion (YADP) and Victim Witness Assistance (VWAP) Programs in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office (MDAO).
It found no deficiencies in its administration of these programs, but the audit did note that its current case management system, known as the District Attorney Management Information Office Network (DAMION), is not well-suited to track and report on many aspects of the criminal justice system.
This is a statewide matter, common to all district attorney’s offices, because the system, which is operated by the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association (MDAA), is antiquated and does not allow for meaningful data collection and analysis. The audit examined the period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020.
“The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office has done a noteworthy job administering the juvenile diversion and victim witness assistance programs, but it’s clear, upgrades must be made to case management and information tracking,” Bump said of the audit. “As we continue to reform our criminal justice system, district attorneys must use all the tools at their disposal to enhance data collection. This effort will be critical to improving outcomes.”
The 2018 criminal justice reform law called for additional collecting of data from criminal justice agencies that have contact with juvenile offenders, including district attorneys. The law established the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board (JJPAD), which is charged with collecting data that includes age, gender, racial or ethnic category, and type of crime. JJPAD uses this data to provide recommendations to improve outcomes of young people involved in the criminal justice system.
Last week, Bump spoke at Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s inaugural virtual Data Summit where she and the DA discussed the importance of using data to improve outcomes within our criminal justice system.
MDAO is one of 11 district attorneys’ offices in the Commonwealth. Its jurisdiction covers Middlesex County Superior Courts (Woburn and Lowell), District Courts (Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Natick, Newton, Somerville, Waltham, and Woburn), and Juvenile Courts (Cambridge, Framingham, Lowell, and Waltham). For fiscal years 2019 and 2020, MDAO received appropriations totaling $17,173,489 and $18,893,167, respectively.