Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $967,365)
The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub. L. 110-180 ("NICS Improvement Act"), was signed into law by the President on January 8, 2008. The NICS Improvement Act amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 ("the Brady Act") (Pub. L. 103-159), under which the Attorney General established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Brady Act requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to contact the NICS before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person for information on whether the proposed transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law. The NICS Improvement Act authorizes grants to be made in a manner consistent with the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP).
Under this award, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (the Court) will use funds to continue its efforts to improve the state's disposition reporting. The Repository currently has a several year backlog on disposition reporting and the Court has also identified mistakes on new disposition reports that must be addressed in order to ensure the accuracy and completeness of criminal history records. The state is also challenged by an inefficient and incomplete process to report indictments. Currently, the only uniform system that the indictments can be collected and maintained in is the West Virginia Offender Case Management System (WVOCMS). This past year, the Court assessed methods of reporting indictments and information(s) to the Repository for inclusion in the criminal history file. The analysis revealed that many of the dispositions are included, or should be included, in the WVOCMS because probation officers spend countless hours tracking down dispositions for the pre-sentence report that are not on the III report and include copies of the originating charge documents including indictments and information(s). The Court identified this source of electronic data to be the easiest, most accurate form of electronic retrieval of disposition data but staffing constraints are a challenge to capturing, cleaning, and monitoring the data. To address these issues, the Court will use funds to support various personnel positions including six Criminal Records Specialists who will be stationed in courthouses and will work with law enforcement agencies to ensure the disposition reporting is completed correctly and research and enter missing dispositions in records for up to 20 years, in addition to other record entry and data quality assurance functions. Funds will also support four Data Quality Manager positions to retrieve scanned data from the field to initiate an offender in the WVOCM system and research and update missing dispositions, overtime hours for the West Virginia State Police to address the state's current backlog of dispositions, and personnel time to maintain the state's Mental Health Registry to ensure that prohibiting mental health records are available to NICS. Other positions will be supported with grant funds to complete tasks such as scanning all Magistrate court orders for dispositions searches, provide technical assistance and training to reporting agencies, and conducting data quality checks. (CA/NCF)