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Survey of Criminal History Information Systems, 1993

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          BJS 
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 1995           202-307-0784

   FIVE STATES SELECTED FOR SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING
     TO IMPROVE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDKEEPING

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Maine, Mississippi, New
Mexico, West Virginia and Vermont will receive up
to $1 million each in federal funds to jump start
the automation of their criminal records.  
     
     Mississippi has computerized 7 percent of its
criminal history files, but the other four states
have not automated any of their records.

     The grants from the Bureau of Justice
Statistics, a Department of Justice agency, will
ultimately enable the states to call up criminal
history information quickly, communicate via
computer with law enforcement agencies and with
other states and tap the criminal history files of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

     "The importance of improving criminal history
records cannot be overstated," said Jan M.
Chaiken, the BJS Director.  "Fingerprint-based
'rap' sheets have always been vital for crime
investigators, but criminal history records are
now increasingly used in other ways, such as
identifying serious offenders under 'three
strikes' laws, preventing felons from purchasing
handguns and screening child care providers."

     A BJS survey showed that 50 states, U.S.
territories and the District of Columbia held
almost 48 million criminal history records at the
end of 1993.  

     Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina,
Rhode Island, and Wyoming reported more than 80
percent record automation, and more than 80
percent of all arrests within the last five years
had complete dispositions.  An additional 11
states--Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana,
Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Utah,
South Carolina and Washington--reported 80 percent
automation and between 60 and 80 percent
completeness of recent arrest records.

     Only 37 states flag felony convictions, which
is how the computer identifies a disqualifying
record.


     The survey also reported that at the end of
last year 29 states were members of the Interstate
Identification Index (III), which makes possible
the immediate exchange of complete criminal
history records among the states and the Federal
government.    

     The study was conducted by SEARCH (the
National Consortium for Justice Information and
Statistics), which is meeting with BJS in
Sacramento today to address criminal record
improvement among the states.    

     Single copies of the report, "Survey of
Criminal History Information Systems, 1993" (NCJ-
148951), may be obtained from the BJS
Clearinghouse, Box 179, Annapolis Junction,
Maryland  20701-0179.  The telephone number is 1-
800-732-3277.  Fax orders to 410-792-4358.  

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After hours contact:  Stu Smith 301-983-9354

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Date Created: May 28, 2009