U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Comparison of Criminal-History Information Systems in the United States and Other Countries

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
214 pages

Official criminal-history record information is an important component of criminal justice systems worldwide, but little is known about how the United States’ criminal-history system compares to those in other industrialized countries. To address this knowledge gap, the Bureau of Justice Statistics sponsored a study to document and compare the national criminal-history systems in the United States, Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Germany, and the Netherlands. The topics include the operational uses and sources of the criminal-history data, procedures to assess record accuracy and completeness, efforts to improve the systems, and the availability of records to government and nongovernment entities for operational and research purposes. Sub-national criminal-history systems (e.g., the state repositories in the U.S.) and other data systems that maintain and disseminate criminal justice information were outside the scope of this study.

Date Published: April 2, 2020