Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $2,145,838)
The goal of the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) is to improve the Nation's safety and security by enhancing the quality, completeness, and accessibility of criminal history record information and by insuring the nationwide implementation of criminal justice and noncriminal justice background check systems. BJS provides direct financial and technical assistance to the states to improve criminal history and other related records and to build their infrastructure to connect to national record check systems both to supply information and to conduct the requisite checks.
Under this award, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the state's NCHIP administering agency, will use funds to collaborate with the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to complete tasks associated with two primary projects. First, DCJS and OCA will address the issue of missing arrests and disposition errors on criminal history records in the state repository. A missing arrest scenario is an important type of disposition error that has a critical impact on the accuracy of criminal history records. The missing arrest scenario occurs when DCJS receives dispositions from OCA that do not match to an arrest on file. When OCA sends dispositions to DCJS, there are two types of scenarios that will cause a missing arrest error: 1) A hanging disposition is created due to the missing arrest. A disposition is received, and the arrest record cannot be found during the disposition processing. The result is that the court case received creates a new cycle of its own on the criminal history record. There are approximately 500 errors of this type per month; and 2) An unmatched disposition is created due to the missing arrest. A disposition is received, and the court case should be posted to an arrest cycle in the criminal history, but the court disposition has insufficient identifiers to determine which criminal history the case should be posted to. The result is that the court case is not posted to any criminal history, and this record goes to the "unmatched disposition" file. There are approximately 1,000 errors of this type per month. Based on analysis done in 2014, approximately 300 dispositions per month have felony charges that are not applied to criminal history records, and approximately 18,000 court cases per year are missing arrests that are not applied to criminal history records. NCHIP funds will support the necessary programming costs to correct the issues that result in these missing arrests and dispositions. Second, DCJS will pass through funds to OCA to expand the use of the state's new state-of-the art automated Unified Court Management System (UCMS). UCMS is a modern, robust, customized case management system with a centralized, statewide database that facilitates the immediate identification and availability of records for criminal background checks at the state and national level, and includes numerous and significant functionality and benefits for improved criminal disposition reporting. Each year, the 1,400 criminal courts in the New York State Unified Court System report over 600,000 dispositions to the centralized criminal history repository. The use of the UCMS system will improve the submission of records to the state repository and improve the quality, completness, and accessibilty of records at the national level. The UCMS was successfully piloted in four city courts between December 2013 and April 2014. Funds will be used to support the state's efforts to deploy the UCMS to the remaining 58 City and District courts statewide, complete the necessary programming to add a Superior Court module to expand the UCMS, and document the functional system requirements needed to implement UCMS in the Justice Courts. (CA/NCF)