Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $171,000)
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.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) is the State Administering Agency for BJS's National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP). Since receiving its first NCHIP award in 1996, DPSCS has expended NCHIP funding in 5 major categories: (1) National Instant Background Check (NICS)/Interstate Identification Index (III)/criminal records improvements; (2) Disposition reporting improvements; (3) Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS)/Livescan activities; (4) Sex offender registry enhancements; and (5) Protection order activities. During the FY 1995-2013 timeframe, Maryland contributed $1,316,442 in state matching funds toward 48 projects designed to improve the timeliness, completeness and accuracy of criminal history records. In FY 2011, Maryland shared 2,975 mental health records with the FBI for the purpose of NICS. The State has submitted all Not Criminally Responsible and Incompetent to Stand Trial findings. In 2013, Governor Martin O'Malley signed the Firearms Safety Act, which removed legal barriers to sharing other disqualifying mental health records including civil commitments, guardianships, and findings of developmental disability. In addition, disqualifying mental health information is only one of many categories of information Maryland shares with the FBI. Maryland had submitted a total of 844,527 disqualifying records to the FBI for the purpose of NICS. Under this award, DPSCS will use funds to continue its efforts to research and update missing dispositions to update records available to NICS for firearm background checks. The state currently has a backlog of 137,000 records that are missing critical disposition information for arrests. Funding will support contractual efforts to research 10,000 records with a goal of resolving at least 90% (9,000) missing dispositions and updating criminal history records that are queried by NICS during a background check. (CA/NCF)