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September 2011

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.

 

CCAM Module and Cash Receipting


For the first time, all 94 district courts are using the same accounting system and following the same business practices for criminal fines and restitution, as well as civil funds deposited with the courts.

"CACM... ends the reliance on paper files and spreadsheets. It standardizes case numbers across the districts and automates calculations."

—Mike Milby

The Civil Criminal Accounting Module (CCAM) was implemented in the final district court in July. The module, which is part of the Judiciary’s financial management system, replaces old legacy accounting systems and a multitude of home-grown systems previously used by courts.

“We recognized the need for a Judiciary-wide accounting system for fines and restitution, where processes are standardized and with modern controls,” said Mike Milby, Deputy Assistant Director of the AO’s Office of Finance and Budget (OFB). As a former clerk of court for the Southern District of Texas, Milby was well aware of the advantages of such a system. “CACM is more efficient,” he explains. “It ends the reliance on paper files and spreadsheets. It standardizes case numbers across the districts and automates calculations. CCAM makes it easier to manage accounts, reconcile data, and track the collection of fines.”

In addition to its usefulness in district courts, CCAM interfaces directly with the Offender Payment Enhanced Report Access system used by probation and pretrial services officers, providing a daily update on the status of offenders’ fine and restitution payments. 

A CCAM interface with the Department of Justice, updated weekly, eliminates the transfer of paper documents and the manual entry of data.

Although its benefits were clear, moving to CCAM wasn’t simply a matter of flipping a switch or downloading software.  

“Each court is set up differently to handle fines and restitution,” said Milby. “Judgments of restitution are not written the same way. By their nature, fines and restitution may be very complicated financial arrangements over who owes what, and what debts are shared. It was the commitment of the courts to making CCAM work that made the transition possible.”

The Administrative Office’s OFB staff, worked closely with court unit executives, contractors, and court staff to ease the process—and to design a system that gave the courts what they needed.

Now that all the district courts are working in CCAM, according to Milby, the bankruptcy courts and the circuit courts will be next to make the transition.