U.S. Department of Justice: National Criminal History Improvement Program
The National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) aims to improve the nation’s safety and security by enhancing the quality, completeness, and accessibility of criminal history record information and by ensuring the nationwide implementation of criminal justice and noncriminal justice background check systems. Achieving this goal is contingent on accomplishing four objectives:
- Providing direct financial and technical assistance to states, state courts and tribes to improve their criminal records systems and other related systems in an effort to support background checks, including NICS checks.
- Ensuring the infrastructure is developed to connect criminal history records systems to the state record repository or appropriate federal agency record system and ensuring records are accessible through the FBI records systems
- Providing the training and technical assistance needed to ensure that records systems are developed and managed to conform to FBI standards and appropriate technologies, while ensuring that contributing agencies adhere to the highest standards of practice with respect to privacy and confidentiality
- Using systematic evaluation and standardized performance measurement and statistics to assess progress made in improving national records holdings and background check systems
NCHIP will support applications that: 1) propose projects that specifically and directly address one or more of the priority areas identified below; and 2) to the maximum extent possible, propose to match or leverage the NCHIP award with other resources.
In 2018, there is a priority on improving dispositions and mental health submissions accessible to NICS. Applicants must focus efforts to improve: 1) availability of dispositions (specifically for felony crimes, and for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence) through the national system; and 2) reporting records of persons prohibited from possessing firearms for mental health reasons to the NICS. Therefore, recipients of funds must agree to use a portion of awarded funds to make such records accessible to NICS unless the state certifies in the application that it:
- Already makes available all dispositions to the national systems and records demonstrating a person is prohibited from possessing firearms for mental health reasons to NICS; or
- Will focus funds on another area that the state demonstrates is a greater information sharing gap.
NCHIP grant funding priorities include:
- Updating and automating case outcomes from courts and prosecutors in state records and the FBI’s Criminal History File
- Improving access to information concerning persons prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm for mental health reasons and transmitting relevant records to the NICS
An additional area for grant funding is to support the applicant’s full participation in the Interstate Identification Index (III) and the National Fingerprint File (NFF), including adoption and implementation of the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact.
Amount: The number of awards or maximum amount awarded per state is not estimated. The number and amount of awards is dependent on the extent to which the projects proposed address the program priority areas, the demonstrated level of need, the number of fundable applications, and the amount of available funding. In 2017, 41 awards were made, totaling approximately $32,000,000.
Eligibility: Applicants are limited to the agency designated by the governor in each state to administer the NCHIP program and federally recognized Indian tribal governments. The application must specifically assure that the state, territory, or tribe:
- Has the capability to contribute pertinent information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
- Is or will be following a comprehensive strategy for information sharing systems to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, with an emphasis on integration of all criminal justice components, law enforcement, courts, prosecution, corrections, and probation and parole.
- Coordinates the programs funded by NCHIP with other federally funded information technology programs, including directly funded local programs.
- Assures that the individuals who developed the grant application took into consideration the needs of all government branches and specifically sought the advice of the top official of the highest court of the jurisdiction, with respect to the application.
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