BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program
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National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) | NICS Act Record Improvement Program | State Justice Statistics Program (SJS)

Program Summary

The Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program works to fulfill BJS's mission of improving the criminal record-keeping of States and local governments while improving the ability of States and localities to produce statistics on crime and the administration of justice.

Criminal history records describe offenses and offenders and include offender fingerprint identification and notations of arrest and subsequent dispositions. All States have established a criminal record repository that maintains criminal records and identification data and responds to law enforcement inquiries and inquiries for other purposes such as background checks and national security. Criminal records include data provided by all components of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and corrections. Automated interfaces with courts and prosecutors are critical to ensuring that all criminal records include dispositions at each stage of the criminal process. Criminal records include records of protection orders, sex offender registries, and other records of contacts with the justice system.

Accurate, timely, and complete criminal history records:

• Enable States to immediately identify persons who are prohibited from firearm purchase or are ineligible to hold positions of responsibility involving children, the elderly, or the disabled.
• Enable criminal justice agencies to make decisions on pretrial release, career criminal charging, determinate sentencing, and correctional assignments.
• Are critical to assist law enforcement in criminal investigations and decision making.
• Are required for background checks for national security, employment, licensing, and related economic purposes, as required under recent legislation.

The FBI administers national systems which permit interstate access to criminal records maintained in all 50 States. These systems include:

• National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Index
• National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
• Interstate Identification Index (III)
• National Protection Order File
• National Sex Offender Registry
• Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)


Through the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), BJS provides direct awards and technical assistance to the states and localities to improve the quality, timeliness, and immediate accessibility of criminal history records and related information. Complete records require that data from all components of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and corrections be integrated and linked. NCHIP assists states to establish the integrated infrastructure which meets the needs of all components.

The NICS Act Record Improvement Program is intended to improve the completeness, automation, and transmittal of records used by the NICS to state and federal systems. Such records include criminal history records, records of felony convictions, warrants, records of protective orders, convictions for misdemeanor involving domestic violence and stalking, drug arrests and convictions, records of mental health adjudications, and others, which may disqualify an individual from possessing or receiving a firearm under federal law. Helping states and state court systems to automate these records will also reduce delays for law-abiding gun purchasers.

The State Justice Statistics Program (SJS) is designed to maintain and enhance each state's capacity to address criminal justice issues through the collection and analysis of data. The SJS Program provides limited funds to each state to coordinate statistical activities within the state, conduct research as needed to estimate impacts of legislative and policy changes, and serve a liaison role in assisting BJS to gather data from respondent agencies within their states.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2012 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2012. These statistical tables provide the estimated number of firearm applications and denials since the inception of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2012.
  PDF (1.2M) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (csv) (Zip format 63K)
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2010 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2010. These statistical tables provide the estimated number of firearm applications and denials since the inception of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2010.
  PDF (763K) | ASCII file (32k) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 17k)
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2009 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2009.
  HTML | PDF (255K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 16K)
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Federal Firearms Cases, FY 2008 Summarizes Federal firearms cases filed and closed in fiscal year 2008.
  PDF (169K)

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2008 - Statistical Tables This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2008.
  HTML | PDF (141K)
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2007 - Statistical Tables This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2007.
  HTML | PDF (341K)
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2006 - Statistical Tables This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2006.
  HTML | PDF (4K)
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Improving Criminal History Records in Indian Country, 2004-2006 Describes the achievements of the Tribal Criminal History Records Improvement Program (T-CHRIP) which provides grants to federally recognized tribes to improve data sharing across tribal, state and national criminal records systems.
  PDF (321K) | ASCII file (12K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 6K) | To order paper version

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2005 Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2005.
  PDF (701K) | ASCII file (32K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 17K) | To order paper version
Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Survey of State Procedures Related to Firearm Sales, 2005 Provides an overview of the firearm check procedures in each of the States and their interaction with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) operated by the FBI.
  PDF (892K) | ASCII file (298K) | ZIP Format (Spreadsheet 5K) | To Order Paper Version (Other)
Part of the Survey of State Procedures Related to Firearm Sales Series

Terms & Definitions

Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) An automated system for searching fingerprint files and transmitting fingerprint images. AFIS computer equipment can scan fingerprint impressions (or utilize electronically transmitted fingerprint images) and automatically extract and digitize ridge details and other identifying characteristics in sufficient detail to enable the computer's searching and matching components to distinguish a single fingerprint from thousands or even millions of fingerprints previously scanned and stored in digital form in the computer's memory. The process eliminates the manual searching of fingerprint files and increases the speed and accuracy of ten-print processing (arrest fingerprint cards and noncriminal justice applicant fingerprint cards). AFIS equipment also can be used to identify individuals from "latent" (crime scene) fingerprints, with even fragmentary prints of single fingers in some cases. Digital fingerprint images generated by AFIS equipment can be transmitted electronically to remote sites, eliminating the necessity of mailing fingerprint cards and providing remote access to AFIS fingerprint files.
 
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