Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $500,000)
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.
Under this award, the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) will transfer funds to the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) to improve public safety in the state by enhancing the quality, completeness, and accessibility of criminal history record information. NCHIP funds are requested to continue to research and update missing court dispositions to ensure availability through the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system and accessibility at the time of a national background check. The disposition research project builds on the success of the 1989 through 2015 research efforts that have increased the felony disposition reporting rate to over 85 percent. Additional resources are being allocated to this function to ensure that the felony reporting rate remains high. The ongoing research of missing current and historical dispositions is still needed to assure accountability from agencies and overall accuracy of the criminal history data. DPS still has the need to maintain a training program to deal with the issues leading to failed disposition reporting at both local law enforcement agencies and the courts. Disposition training and research also serves the purpose of making courts and local law enforcement agencies throughout Utah continuously aware of the importance of accurate and complete reporting of dispositions.
DPS will also use funds to help purchase livescan systems and upgrade existing devices with palm capture capabilities in an effort to enhance criminal history records with information such as mugshot photos, scars, tattoos, marks, etc. In conjunction with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), DPS will develop an automated probable cause (PC) system to provide a consistent manner for law enforcement to submit PC statements to the Court and, in return, receive responses from the Court in a timely manner. Implementing this PC system will work in conjunction with UtahÂ’s new eWarrants system, thus bringing speed and efficiency to the PC issuance process. A second component of the PC Electronic Notice System project will be the development of an automated pretrial screening report to allow DPS and AOC to receive reports from 26 county jails throughout Utah. The PC system and the automated pretrial screening component will have direct benefits for the Utah Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) by improving the accurate and timely flow of criminal records that are critical to the success of JRI. (CA/NCF)