SEARCH Updates Repository Survey - Online Entry Slated for Early 2007


SEARCH and the U.S. DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) have substantially changed the format and content of the Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) Survey for the first time since 1989. The survey is the basis for the Biannual Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, which provides law and policymakers, administrators, managers, academia, research institutions, and other agencies and individuals with the most complete data available on record quantity and completeness, and on procedures used by repositories to maintain record quality. The repository CHRI survey was revised to reflect a changing technological environment, as well as policy revisions made by the states.

“Given the dramatic advances in information technology, legislative and social trends that have increased demand for criminal history record access, as well as the need for criminal record managers to respond to these developments, BJS and SEARCH believed that an in-depth review of the survey format was called for prior to requesting information for 2005,” said Mr. Owen Greenspan, SEARCH Director of Law and Policy Programs.

On October 12, 2005, a request for suggestions was sent to all repositories. Responses to that request, as well as input from attendees at SEARCH’s 2006 Winter Membership meeting, and a review by the FBI have resulted in an updated Survey. New questions have been added, and some questions have been deleted due to their irrelevancy to today’s operations.

Another change was to divide the Survey into 12 sections by topics covered. Repositories can now distribute specific topical questions directly to the people who provide the information, so repository staff can fill in the data simultaneously. More than one person at each repository is usually involved in completing the survey so this change expedites the process.

Survey Available on SEARCH Web Site in 2007
To further streamline the process, the Survey will be available on the SEARCH Web site, and will be password-protected. Repositories can fill out the survey on-line, or print out hard copies, fill out, and return to SEARCH.

“Having the Survey available on SEARCH’s Web site means more options for those submitting responses and a faster turnaround so we can tabulate the results in a timelier manner,” said Mr. Greenspan.

The revised survey is undergoing final review by the Office of Management and Budget, and is tentatively expected to be available to repositories in early 2007, to collect data for year-end 2006.