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Interstate Identification Index Name Check Efficacy: Report of the National Task Force to the U.S. Attorney General

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
133 pages
Research conducted during 1998 and 1999 focused on the accuracy of identifications resulting from name checks of the Interstate Identification Index (III) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as compared to identifications resulting from fingerprint-based searches of the FBI's criminal history record files.
The research also examined inaccurate identification or missed identifications resulting from name checks. The analysis focused on criminal history background check outcomes for three types of noncriminal justice applicants: (1) public housing tenants and applicants from six participating public housing authorities; (2) volunteer applicants form Arizona, California, and Maryland; and (3) applicants for employment or occupational licensing from Florida. The analysis included criminal history background checks of 93,274 Florida employment or licensing applicants initiated between October 1, 1998 and January 31, 1999; 323 public housing applicants initiated between November 10, 1998 and February 10, 1999; and 2,550 volunteer applicants initiated between November 12, 1998 and February 12, 1999. The study concluded that the numbers of cases of public housing applicants and volunteer applicants included in the analysis were insufficient to yield definitive findings. Results regarding employment or licensing applicants indicated that FBI fingerprint searches are highly preferable to III name checks as a means of criminal history screening. Reliance on name checks along can mean unfair exclusion of many people without disqualifying criminal records from employment or other positions or entitlements. Therefore, the Federal Government and the states should take several actions to remove disincentives to the use of fingerprint-based criminal background checks. Tables, figures, and appended background materials

Date Created: August 21, 2000