Paperless Environments for Prosecutors: How It Works
Prosecutor case management systems are often associated with paperless environments—but what does that mean? Business News Daily describes that “a paperless or paper-free office minimizes the use of physical paper in favor of digital documents. Instead of storing documents in file cabinets, businesses store files on computers and in the cloud.”
As countless industries shift to solely-digital environments, prosecutorial office technology continues to lag. Forbes has reported on the surprising costs of physical paper-centric offices—both regarding monetary cost, efficiency, and workflows.
While everyday citizens (including criminals) have access to digital environments for the most mundane (e.g., communication platforms, digital grocery lists) to the most complex (e.g., cyber theft) tasks, prosecutors are often reliant on clunky, physical filing boxes filled with countless files.
Technology has evolved, and as a result, so has crime. It’s only reasonable that prosecutors have access to this same level of technology and advancement.
In this blog, we’ll examine the initial challenges of implementing a paperless environment but also expand on the benefits of a paperless environment and how tools like CivicDocs can empower users.
Let’s dive in.
The Challenges of Implementing a Paperless Environment
Resistance to Change
Like any new technology, change can be daunting. For users, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to learn new tech. Alongside this, it can be overwhelming for buyers to vet new technological options. Particularly, this is considering the amount of time procurement takes, the typical expense of adopting new technology, and the length of implementation timelines.
Need for Adequate Technology
Many prosecutorial offices are so desperate for updated tech, that the process of “catching up” with modernity can feel like a tremendous one. For the many prosecutors relying solely on banker boxes of physical files and evidence that must be transported back and forth among parties, it can feel overwhelming to bridge the expansive gap between current practices and ideal digital systems.
Ensuring Data Security and Privacy
Cybercrime being considered, digital security measures are more vital than ever. Especially when handling criminal justice information (CJI), users need access to secure platforms that safeguard sensitive information.
Need for Proper Training and Education
No matter how tech-savvy certain users are, there’s always a steep learning curve when implementing a new tech system. Instead of being merely handed a system without any information on how to use it, prosecutors and prosecutorial offices need access to in-depth training opportunities in order to prepare their users to actually benefit from the efficiency digital systems can offer.
Prosecutors’ Tech Needs
Tech to Simplify—Not Overcomplicate
Studies continue to show that prosecutors are feeling overworked and understaffed. On top of this, prosecutors are still dealing with lengthy backlogs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As prosecutorial offices attempt to do more work with less time and staffing, prosecutors don’t have time to troubleshoot outdated, overcomplicated tech. In this way, intuitive, cloud-based systems have the potential to actually serve prosecutors in the way they need, by saving time and functioning as a task force multiplier.
A Paper Trail (Made…Paperless?)
Say goodbye to the hassle and risk of managing a mountain of physical records! A paperless environment can transform the way prosecutors handle their cases, streamlining their workflow, boosting efficiency, and enhancing their ability to deliver justice.
While compiling cases, managing evidence, sharing information through discovery, and more, prosecutors need to be able to closely monitor the exchange of information by noting party, time, location, and file status and format.
Out-dated, physical paper trails allow information to easily get misplaced, or lost, or can allow for disagreement among defense and prosecutor teams regarding access to information.
Oppositely, a paperless paper trail, also referred to as a digital audit log, allows users to instantly monitor the exchange of evidence and information, all with verified time stamps, user logs, and file version tracking. Too, prosecutors can redact information and share specific versions based on users’ access needs.
The Benefits of Paperless Environments
In this way, digital case management systems, and paperless prosecution, create opportunities for these tech tools and allow users to implement maximized workflows. Let’s examine some of the potential benefits that a paperless environment can provide.
Paperless environments and digital prosecutor case management systems can enable prosecutors to more efficiently move through cases through dashboards that monitor case progress, parties, and files—all in one place. Users can designate tasks for specific parties, pushing cases along in the legal process from step to step.
Additionally, prosecutors can instantly share discovery materials with defense teams, while also sending and receiving files from law enforcement agencies. Instead of managing physical, clunky banker boxes of files, prosecutors can save time and instantly access information when and where they need it.
Cloud-based, paperless platforms ensure that all materials are saved in a single, cyber-secure location. Physical files can easily be lost or misplaced. Plus, defense teams can argue that they haven’t had access to particular files.
With digitized documents, prosecutors don’t have to worry about sifting through and locating extensive documents and can instantly search through thousands of files in a matter of seconds.
Additionally, users can designate tasks for specific parties with role-based access, thereby also protecting sensitive information and only allowing access to necessary parties.
This variety of features, among others, secures information, promotes transparency, and increases access to necessary information.
As mentioned earlier, a paperless platform allows users to share information and collaborate more easily than ever. By using a high-tech platform, prosecutors can easily collaborate with other users. This includes fellow prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and defense teams. This improved collaboration can strengthen interagency relationships, while also saving all users precious time.
Improved collaboration, security, and efficiency can help prosecutorial offices save time, and certainly, money. By investing in a strong paperless software solution, offices can do more with less–improving workflows, information access, and more. These reduced costs allow offices to better allocate resources where they are needed most.
CivicCase: Paperless Environments Made Easy
CivicEye believes that prosecutors should have access to paperless environments to empower their vital work. With CivicCase for Prosecutors, users can manage their cases seamlessly from start to finish.
Users can easily navigate through each stage of prosecution through operations such as sharing evidence with discovery, generating billing forms, creating victim alerts, managing file versions, and generating detailed audit logs.
Additionally, CivicCase empowers prosecutors with features such as case party management, flexible form creation, real-time access to records, and single-entry data input. These features allow prosecutors to collaborate and share information anytime, anywhere via a secure cloud-based network.
The CivicEye team believes that a paperless environment should be, and can be, easy. Below, we’ll share how CivicCase for Prosecutors helps support prosecutorial offices when choosing to implement a new case management system.
Going cloud-based doesn’t have to be hard. CivicCase’s intuitive platform makes it easy for users to learn how to bulk upload files in seconds, all while maintaining original file structure. Adopting a cloud-based solution means that your users have the information they need, exactly when and where they need it.
Secure data management
CivicCase protects sensitive criminal justice information (CJI) within a single, secure database that allows users to upload information with ease of mind. Advanced role-based access filters allow users to make sure that only specific parties have access to sensitive materials.
With a single click, CivicCase allows users to send information to other parties, such as defense, law enforcement officials, and other prosecutorial team members. This features couples with the software’s detailed audit logs, allowing prosecutors to track who accessed which documents, when, and where, via IP address.
Training and support
When you choose CivicCase for Prosecutors, the CivicEye team is dedicated to training new users to onboard and maximize the platform’s capabilities. Our team promises tech support 24/7/365. Teams shouldn’t have to implement new tech alone, and with CivicEye, you don’t have to.
Paperless environments can revolutionize the way prosecutors approach case management. By enhancing security, improving efficiency, simplifying collaboration, and reducing cost, paperless environments can help prosecutors focus on what matters most–closing cases.
To learn more about how platforms like CivicCase for prosecutors can help your team reap the benefits of a paperless environment, click below to learn more.
GET IN TOUCH
To learn more about CivicCase, CivicEye’s prosecutor case management solution, click here to schedule a demo today.