By Kevin Deutsch
Bronx prosecutors are in dire need of a tech upgrade.
That’s the message District Attorney Darcel Clark delivered to the City Council’s Justice System and Public Safety Committees Tuesday as she requested $4.9 million in new funding, including $650,000 in maintenance funds for a new, high-tech case management system.
The DA’s Office also submitted a request for $2 million in capital funds to purchase the system, which Clark said will help “modernize the office, to put ourselves on an even playing field with the other district attorney’s offices.”
“I inherited an antiquated case tracking system that was adequate when Atari was out,” Clark testified, eliciting laughs in the council chamber. ‘That’s what I’m stuck with now. So we need to replace it now, not only to better manage our cases and to be transparent, but to be in tandem with the city’s efforts at transparency.”
Clark said the need for a new system became abundantly clear following an assessment the DA’s office conducted on its technology and analytical tools last year with the help of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The new system, if fully funded, would serve as a centralized case database that provides real-time information, analysis, statistical reporting, and data sharing across citywide tech platforms.
“The data provides reliable facts demonstrating how the office has addressed the legacy of mass incarceration and racial disparities of the past,” Clark said.
“We cannot move the office, the justice system, or public safety forward without critical infrastructure and technology enhancement that for far too long have been ignored.”
The DA also requested $$610,000 to pay for detective investigators to protect high-risk witnesses who cooperate with her office, and $4.3 million in “salary parity” funding to help retain more experienced prosecutors. Currently, the average Bronx assistant district attorney has less than four years experience, Clark said.