PEC Solutions Inc. of Fairfax won a five-year, $14.1 million contract from the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review to help build a new system for managing documents and streamlining the appeals process.

The project aims to transform the agency and immigration courts from paper-based organizations to paper-free ones. "It will eliminate much of the need to ship paper documents around the courts," said Reed Hyde, director of the Justice Systems Center at PEC Solutions.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review collects information about non-citizens who appear in immigration courts, and hears and decides immigration cases for detainees, criminal aliens and asylum seekers. The office consists of three organizations -- the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer.

In fiscal 2003, the Office for Immigration Review handled about 300,000 cases at the immigration court level and heard 48,000 appeals. There are 212 immigration judges in 52 courts in the United States.

Under a project the agency calls eWorld, PEC Solutions will replace several old computer systems with a new system for managing documents. Users will be able to access court-related documents through an agency intranet site using a Web browser.

PEC Solutions will manage the project and provide system support and maintenance, Web development, database design, and integration and administration services. The company will implement Web-based access to data and documents, an e-filing system and an automatic assembly of case-related data for judges and other authorities. The system will incorporate digital-audio recordings in courtrooms.

"Up to this point, the courts have been very paper intensive," said Roy Carter, senior vice president and general manager of criminal justice and intelligence operations at PEC Solutions. "We're seeing a dramatic move by all courts to reduce that paperwork and give electronic access to all users in the courts."

PEC Solutions provides similar electronic case and data management services to the federal courts; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Carter said.

PEC Solutions is a professional services firm specializing in Web-based IT systems for government agencies. Other federal customers include the Defense and Homeland Security departments, Veterans Benefits Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and intelligence agencies. The firm employs more than 1,400 workers and had revenue of $172 million in 2003.

For more details on this and other technology contracts, go to Roseanne Gerin is a staff writer with Washington Technology Magazine.