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Just Released: Biennial Survey Offers a National Snapshot Of State Criminal History Info/Operations at Year-end 2016

Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2016

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Every two years since 1989, SEARCH has worked with the Bureau of Justice Statistics to survey the administrators of state criminal history record repositories for an in-depth look into their systems and operations.

On Monday, February 12, BJS released the results of the 14th survey in the series—Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2016—and it offers the most current and comprehensive snapshot of the data, trends, improvements, and practices spanning repository and criminal history operations nationwide.

For the latest biennial effort, SEARCH surveyed all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).  Data collected reflect repository systems and operations as of December 31, 2016.

SEARCH staff Becki Goggins, Director of Law and Policy, and Dennis DeBacco, Justice Information Services Specialist, administered the survey, collated and analyzed results, and prepared the report.

It offers a unique glimpse into the kinds of information stored in these systems, and how it is used and disseminated. Survey readership includes U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, state governors, state attorneys general, researchers, public and law school libraries, and public and private security entities—as well as criminal history record system administrators and managers.

The report contains 40 data tables containing raw numbers and responses concerning record and offender counts, record flagging and access, disposition reporting, arrest/fingerprint reporting, rap back services and more.  The report explores the types of information the states collect, how they get it, and the level of automation involved.

The survey was conducted between March–June 2017. SEARCH received survey responses from every state, plus Guam, and Puerto Rico.

In addition to the States providing input into the survey report, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (FBI CJIS) contributed information related to the following:

  • State participation in the Interstate Identification Index (III)
  • National Fingerprint File (NFF)
  • National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact
  • Record counts in the NCIC Wanted Person and NCIC Protection Order Files.
We are pleased to offer this resource to anyone interested in how the states collect, maintain, and use criminal history data. Decision- and policymakers can reference the survey to find the most up-to-date and complete data on the status of information kept within our nation’s state criminal history record systems. SEARCH and BJS revised the 2016 edition to collect information on emerging practices and issues, often suggested by survey users and respondents. These include collecting business process time measurements on data the repositories receive and process, such as arrest and supporting fingerprint records, protection orders, wanted persons, and disposition information. The survey also includes information on flags for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, active protection orders and warrants; livescan and cardscan usage; and how repositories are intending to replace computerized criminal history and automated fingerprint identification systems that are nearing the end of their life cycles.”
Becki R. Goggins, SEARCH Director of Law and Policy
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Karen Lissy

Ms. Karen Lissy is a Justice Information Services Specialist for the Law and Policy Program of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. In this position, she provides assistance to state and local justice and public safety agencies to collect, curate, and use National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data and computerized criminal history record (CCH/CHRI) information for policy analysis and development.

She also guides justice and related organizations in how to craft and implement laws, policies, practices, and technology applications to effectively collect and use CCH and related justice/public safety data; address legal, policy, and regulatory issues associated with CCH data; better manage and operate criminal justice information and identification systems; and develop security and privacy policies that protect justice information sharing systems.

Ms. Lissy has nearly two decades of research and data analysis experience, having led projects and tasks in support of two agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Institute of Justice), as well as the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and multiple foundations, including Ford, Annie E. Casey, and Hewlett. Prior to joining SEARCH in October 2020, Ms. Lissy served as a Social Science Researcher at RTI International, as a regional Crime Analyst for the Redmond (WA) Police Department, and as Director of a research program with the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. Beginning in 2012, Ms. Lissy’s work has focused on improving data in law enforcement to answer policy questions and improve community/police relations.

Ms. Lissy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.