BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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WASHINGTON, DC—The Justice Department announced today that it is awarding $40 million (See chart attached) to state agencies to improve the completeness, quality and accessibility of the nation's criminal record systems. Since 1995, awards have totaled over $354 million and have gone to all states.

Funding, which is provided under the Department's National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), is administered by the Office of Justice Program's (OJP) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). NCHIP assists states in automating and upgrading records that link to record systems administered by the FBI, including the National Sex Offender Registry and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which supports instant background checks on persons attempting to purchase firearms.

"Automating our criminal records will strengthen our nation's ability to keep guns out of the hands of those prohibited from purchasing firearms and will enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to prevent and deter crimes," said OJP's Assistant Attorney General Deborah Daniels. "Our nation's citizens deserve a swift and permanent resolution to threats of criminal activities."

Complete, accurate, and immediately accessible records enable states to: immediately identify individuals with prior criminal records in any state; more effectively identify felons and others prohibited from firearm purchase; check backgrounds of persons responsible for child, elder and disabled care; identify individuals who have a history of domestic violence or stalking; and make informed decisions relating to pretrial release and detention of offenders, prosecutions of career criminals and appropriate correctional confinement.

"We are committed to giving our law enforcement agencies the resources they need to ensure the safety of all Americans. Criminal behavior will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Daniels.

NCHIP awards are made to state agencies designated by the governor. Awards are based on the amount requested and factors including: the condition of the applying state's records, the anticipated impact the improvements will have on availability of records throughout the national system, the extent to which the state has fulfilled goals of previous NCHIP awards and the technical feasibility of the state's proposal. State-specific information is attached.

Information about NCHIP is available on Office of Justice Programs Website at under the "OJP Press Releases" section, the BJS' Website at, or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 800/851-3420. For specific information about a state program, contact the individual listed on the attached chart. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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After hours contact: David Hess at 888/763-8943 (pager)

Return to BJS Press Releases
NCHIP Fact Sheet (PDF, 51 KB)
NCHIP FY 2001 Awards and Contacts (PDF, 58 KB)

List of OJP agencies

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