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West Virginia Criminal History Records Data Quality Review

NCJ Number
Theresa K. Lester M.A.; Stephen M. Haas Ph.D.
Date Published
June 2005
60 pages
This report presents results of an audit to assess the current state of West Virginia’s criminal history records system.
As a participant in the National Criminal History Records Improvement Program (NCHIP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Interstate Identification Index (III) initiative, West Virginia is required to maintain the capacity of its criminal history records system to allow for easy interstate exchange of criminal histories. The assessment used the Federal recommendations to evaluate the criminal history records of West Virginia in terms of: (1) completeness; (2) accuracy; and (3) timeliness. The evaluation methodology involved a reverse auditing methodology containing elements of an internal audit. The reverse audit focused on analyzing whether all arrest events were completely and accurately reported into the criminal history records system while the internal audit focused on data entry procedures, timeliness of information received and entered by the repository, and instances in which arrest information was presented with no accompanying information on disposition and correctional outcome. The 34 law enforcement agencies selected for the audit were identified via a multistage stratified sampling procedure and a sample of 1,522 arrest records from April 1998 through April 2002 were examined on-site at arresting agencies. Results indicated that in comparison to the findings from the 1997 audit, there have been modest improvements made in the completeness and timeliness of the information reported. However, more than half of the sampled arrests did not have an accompanying CDR form at the repository. The average time it took for fingerprint arrest cards to arrive at the repository after the date of arrest was 12.5 days, down from the 1997 average of 49 days. The Bureau of Justice Assistance recommends that fingerprints taken at arrest or confinement should reach the State repository within 24 hours. Future evaluations should focus on delineating the policies and procedures contributing to problems with reporting information to the central repository. Tables, graphs, references, appendixes