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02Jan2015

How do States Handle Bulk Sales of Public Criminal History Data? SEARCH Surveys Membership to Gauge State Practices

By SEARCH

View or download the bulk data sale survey results

SEARCH staff recently conducted an informal survey of our Membership Group to gauge how different states handle the bulk sale of public criminal history data. Thirty states responded, with the majority of those reporting that they do not offer bulk sales of these records. 

The survey was conducted by Becki Goggins, SEARCH Director of Law and Policy, who provided the following survey highlights:

  • When asked whether their state provides bulk criminal history sales, respondents reported the following:
    • 8 (or 27.6%) said “yes”
    • 19 (or 65.5%) said “no”
    • 2 (or 6.9%) said “unknown”
    • 1 did not provide an answer
  • When asked which agencies provide bulk sales, respondents reported the following:
    • The same agency that hosts the state’s criminal history records repository – 5 states
    • State Administrative Office of Courts – 3 states
    • Local Law Enforcement Agencies – 2 states
    • Local Courts – 2 states
    • State Corrections Agency – 1 state
    • Local Corrections Agencies – 0 states
    • Other Agencies – 0 states
  • When asked how agencies determine prices for bulk data sales, respondents reported the following:
    • 4 states reported charging a standard fee per request
    • 1 state reported allowing “gateway purchases,” whereby end-users purchase records through a database interface 

Access to criminal history record information maintained by the states is governed by the laws of the individual states, and the level of access and methods of dissemination vary by state.  For specific details on community notification services and access to records, see Table 7a in Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2012 (PDF), a national survey compiled and analyzed by SEARCH and published by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. For questions regarding SEARCH surveys, contact becki.goggins@search.org

Over the years, SEARCH has conducted dozens of surveys on issues that impact how justice information is collected, maintained, and used—and has done so at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, the States, partner organizations, and our Members. Surveys are often conducted of the State central repositories of criminal history information, and sometimes of our own Membership Group—and other surveys have been conducted of the public.  We provide these survey results as a resource to criminal justice practitioners and researchers. Visit our Surveys page to access them.

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