Pinellas justice system converts to computerized records - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas justice system converts to computerized records

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Pinellas State Attorney Bernie McCabe likens the 30-year-old courthouse records mainframe known as the Consolidated Justice Information System, or CJIS, to a rickety old car "that you can't find any parts for anymore."

Today, McCabe joined Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge J. Thomas McGrady, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Pinellas Clerk of Courts Ken Burke in announcing the debut of a brand new computerized records system called Odyssey that is sleeker, easier to use and fully integrated across a number of local government agencies involved in the justice system.

Project manager Tonya Rainwater told reporters the public will appreciate the new system for its "ease of use" compared to CJIS which cobbled together diverse database systems and platforms from different agencies back in the 1970's , when software engineers first created it to manage court records.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri believes Odyssey would have prevented the murder of a jail inmate last year who landed in the wrong Pinellas County Jail cell after a records mix up Gualtieri blamed on the old CJIS system.

Odyssey gives the public limited access to court records, much like CJIS did, but with less confusion and clutter. 

Anyone can log on by going to

There are also free subscriptions available that enhance access for news reporters and the public.

The key to rolling out Odyssey was in the conversion of half a billion existing court documents and limiting system access through the establishment of "2000 individual rights" that programmers designed to partition off the data for specific users in different roles.

There are layered security safeguards woven into the system to discourage hackers and other protections installed to prevent wide scale "data mining" from outside organizations.

Eventually the Odyssey system will allow public users to download criminal court documents currently inaccessible online, but that kind of access is still in development under direction from the Florida Supreme Court.

Less integrated versions of the Odyssey system are already in use in Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange and Duval Counties.

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