U.S. flag

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

National Criminal History Improvement Program


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          BJS
SEPTEMBER 11, 1995                    202-307-0703


     SEBASCO, MAINE -- Eighteen states, led by
Florida, Texas, and New Mexico, will receive about
$27 million under the $88 million National
Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) to
upgrade their criminal history records systems.  
The grants will help states implement the Crime
Law and enhance their efforts to keep felons from
purchasing handguns, prevent sex offenders from
working with children and the elderly, and
identify repeat offenders who may be subject to
"three strikes" laws.  

     Dr. Jan Chaiken, Director of the Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of
Justice, the agency that administers NCHIP,
announced the awards today at the 1995 Conference
of the Association of State Uniform Crime
Reporting Programs.  

     "These grants will continue the Justice
Department's commitment to help states have
accurate, complete, and accessible criminal
history records.  Improving criminal records is
NOT about computers and bookkeeping.  It's about
fighting crime in states and communities across
America,"  said Dr. Chaiken.  "This year every
state will receive a Federal grant under the NCHIP

     "The NCHIP grants are part of our commitment
to use the tools of the Crime Law to assist states
and local communities,"  Attorney General Janet
Reno added from Washington.  "The Crime Law,
signed by the President a year ago, is helping us
ensure that the most violent criminals are dealt
with appropriately and swiftly."

     As states improve their recordkeeping, they
will be able to share complete criminal history
information through the FBI's National Instant
Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and gain
full access to interstate records.  NICS is
scheduled to become fully operational by 1998.

     States also will be able to provide a clearer
snapshot of an offender's past to avoid the
pretrial release of offenders who may pose a
danger to the community.

     The states receiving these awards and the
amounts are:

     Alabama, $552,733
     Alaska, $825,000    
     Connecticut, $640,000    
     Delaware, $960,000  
     Florida, $2,900,000
     Kansas, $903,000
     Maine, $1,975,000
     Massachusetts, $1,900,000
     Wyoming, $480,000
     Minnesota, $1,480,000
     Mississippi, $1,725,000
     Montana, $335,000
     New Mexico, $2,100,000
     North Carolina, $1,460,705
     South Dakota, $500,000
     Texas, $4,961,000
     Washington, $1,200,000
     West Virginia, $1,919,000

The states receiving the awards announced today
hold one-third (33 percent) of all criminal
history records in the nation.  To date, grants
have been made to 30 states that hold
approximately 66 percent of the nation's criminal
history records.  

     Twelve states received approximately $20
million in NCHIP awards in July.  Those states and
their award amounts are:

     Arkansas, $659,390       
     California, $3,405,542        
     Georgia, $1,500,000      
     Iowa, $792,036      
     Missouri, $1,619,570          
     Nebraska, $830,330       
     New York, $4,792,375
     North Dakota, $556,365        
     Pennsylvania, $2,632,984
     South Carolina, $1,145,955
     Utah, $642,653
     Vermont, $1,975,279

     Criminal history records are fingerprint
cards or their electronic counterparts, linked
with information about arrests, convictions and
sentences, when available.  Of the 50 million
criminal history records in the United States,
half are accessible nationally, but only a quarter
(28 percent) are both accessible and include
dispositions.  Records are inaccessible 
electronically to other states if they are not
automated or if a state does not participate in
the national system (Interstate Identification
Index).  Records without dispositions delay 
inquiries or handicap law enforcement in the
identification of individuals with a prior

     In December 1994, BJS designated five states
"priority" states because they had little or no
automated criminal history records.  Four of those
states are receiving awards today--Maine,
Mississippi, New Mexico, and West Virginia. 
Vermont, the other "priority" state, received
first round funding in July.  Each of the priority
states will receive $1 million supplemental
assistance as part of its award to accelerate
their automation process.     

     A total of $100 million was appropriated for
NCHIP in Fiscal Year 1995.  Of this amount:
    $88 million will be awarded directly to
     states to automate their criminal history
     record systems and improve the accuracy,
     completeness, timeliness and accessibility of
     criminal history records;
    $5 million is being used to provide direct
     technical assistance to the states and to
     evaluate the program;
    $6 million was transferred to the FBI for
     implementation of the National Instant
     Criminal Background Check System (NICS).     
    $1 million is for administering and
     monitoring the program.

                      # # # 

After hours contact:     
Harri J. Kramer 301/229-4861 
or Chris Rizzuto 703/525-1792

Date Published: September 11, 1995