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Non-Criminal Justice Agency Access to State and Local Criminal History Record Information

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1983
The brief considers statutory and judicial developments pertaining to noncriminal justice access to criminal history data and policies and practices regarding fees charged to noncriminal justice requestors of information.

As of 1981, 43 States or territories had adopted statutes which permit the disclosure of conviction information to governmental noncriminal justice agencies, and 35 States or territories permit the disclosure of nonconviction information to governmental noncriminal justice agencies. Few State statutes expressly prohibit the release of criminal history record information to governmental noncriminal justice agencies. Many States have statutorily or administratively identified certain types of noncriminal justice requestors and accorded them special access rights. While the States have been actively legislating on this subject, the courts have been in full retreat. From the halcyon days of Menard v. Mitchell, the doctrine of a constitutional right of privacy in criminal history data has withered to such a point that today the Constitution is deemed to be silent on the subject. A survey of 13 criminal history record repositories located in the larger States shows (1) fee requirements are more common than expected; (2) fees are more likely than not to cover all noncriminal justice agency requestors; and (3) the imposition of fees has had little impact on the nature or volume of noncriminal justice agency requests. Policy issues in this area that should be given further attention are listed.

Date Published: March 1, 1983