SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, is the Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) provider funded by BJS to work with National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) grantees needing TTA when implementing their grant-funded activities. SEARCH will proactively contact NCHIP Supplemental award recipients to ensure they are aware of training and technical assistance opportunities, including information related to implementing the new background check requirements of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) for prospective gun purchasers under the age of 21.
- Provide information on how states are operationalizing BSCA requirements related to checks of juvenile court, local law enforcement, and other records that may disqualify a person from obtaining a firearm from Federal Firearms Licensees.
- Assist states in addressing specific challenges they may face in sharing records for persons under 21 that often require the adoption of new operational procedures and technological solutions to be effective.
“Through funding provided under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Bureau of Justice Statistics is proud to help support record improvement efforts at the local, state, and national level in order to ensure that the most accurate, timely, and complete data are available to support the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” said BJS Director Dr. Alexis Piquero.
SEARCH and NCSC have maintained a productive and longstanding partnership in providing technical assistance to state criminal history record repositories, courts, and other justice agencies. SEARCH and NCSC have undertaken research projects and authored white papers focusing on enhancing warrant and disposition reporting to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and ensuring the accessibility of records for the National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS).
SEARCH and NCSC are partnering to provide training and technical assistance to states in improving disposition reporting and criminal history record data quality. SEARCH and NCSC will review and qualify requests for technical assistance with each requesting jurisdiction to ensure that the assistance is properly scoped and targeted.
Disposition Reporting Improvement
SEARCH and NCSC will also work with 10 states with persistently low disposition reporting rates (i.e., states that consistently report that less than half (<50 percent) of arrests have final court dispositions, as measured by the biennial Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems) to identify specific technical, operational, and business process impediments to timely, accurate, and complete criminal history records. Principal factors contributing to low disposition reporting include lack of systematic automation of court records statewide, inconsistent reporting practices, missing case and/or transaction control numbers to effectively link court and arrest records, unstructured disposition and sentencing data, and staff turnover, among others.
In a parallel effort, SEARCH and NCSC will work with states reporting over 90 percent disposition reporting to identify technical, operational, and business process strategies that effectively improve criminal history data for firearms background checks, BSCA compliance, and other criminal justice and non-criminal justice uses. The SEARCH/NCSC team will develop issue-specific White Papers highlighting effective strategies to address BSCA reporting capabilities and to improve disposition reporting and criminal history data quality.
Data Quality Improvement
SEARCH and NCSC will host two regional criminal history data quality improvement workshops, each of which will bring together 6 to 8 states for in-depth, 1½-day discussions of all aspects of criminal history record quality. Workshop participants will include representatives from state criminal history repositories, courts, prosecutors, law enforcement, corrections, and community supervision staff, all of whom are responsible for contributing data to the criminal history record. The workshops will include sessions specifically focused on the BSCA and what the Act requires regarding juvenile adjudications, involuntary mental health commitment records, and misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
Prior workshops hosted by SEARCH and NCSC have proven successful in building community and collaboration among key stakeholders, identifying common challenges and successful strategies to improve criminal history data quality.
For more information about SEARCH and its TTA opportunities, please visit www.search.org or reach out directly to one of SEARCH’s Law and Policy team members via email:
Becki, Dennis, or Karen are available to respond to questions or to requests for specific technical assistance.