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Measuring the Performance of Criminal History Records Systems: The Records Quality Index

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2005
26 pages
James M. Tien Ph.D.; Michael F. Cahn; Robin C. Neray; David M. Einstein; Ke Pei
This report describes the on-going development, testing, validation, and implementation of a Records Quality Index (RQI) to measure the performance of criminal history records systems.
Over the past 18 months, a robust RQI has been developed, pretested in 10 pilot States, and refined accordingly. The first national data collection cycle has been successfully completed and State RQIs as well as the national RQIs for the years 1993, 1997, and 2001 have been computed. Findings indicate that based on the analysis of the first nationwide data collection cycle, and in cooperation with the States’ criminal history record repositories, a Records Quality Index (RQI) has been developed and refined; this RQI has shown to be an effective gauge of the performance of State criminal history records systems. Comprised of a set of well-defined outcome and process measures, the RQI reflects goals of the Federal records improvement programs, and describes the progress with which these goals are being achieved. The computed State RQI cannot be less than zero and has no upper limit. For 1993, the RQI ranged from 0 to 234; from 0 to 338 for 1997; and from 8 to 785 for 2001. With few exceptions (due primarily to large arrest fingerprint card and/or disposition backlogs at the repository) the State RQIs increased over time. From 1993 to 1997, the median percent RQI increase was 78.5 percent; from 1997 to 2001, the median percent RQI increase was 77 percent. Of course, States with an RQI of zero have considerable room for improvement. It is noteworthy that in 1993 there were 11 such States; whereas in 1997, there were only 2; and in 2001, there were none. The National Records Quality Index (NRQI), comprised of a weighted average of State RQIs, increased from 56.2 in 1993, to 202.0 in 2001. This is a direct result of increases in the individual State RQIs brought about by federally-funded improvements to State criminal history records systems. Exhibits

Date Created: May 15, 2008