FOR RELEASE††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††BJS

MARCH 5, 2002††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 202/307-0703





WASHINGTON, DC Ė The Justice Department has made $38 million available in direct awards and technical assistance to help states improve the quality, completeness and accessibility of criminal history records.States will use these funds to continue building the infrastructure that supports instant background checks for firearms sales and to develop and enhance sex offender registry systems.

The Justice Departmentís Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is now accepting Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 applications for funding through the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP).Applications are due by April 1, 2002 and BJS anticipates announcing awards by mid-July 2002.

The goal of NCHIP is to improve the nationís public safety by enhancing and upgrading the nationís criminal history records.These funds will allow continued development of statesí automated criminal record systems, as well as support partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement and government agencies to address problems of stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault against children.

NCHIP funds can be used by states for several clearly defined areas including:

                    to develop and enhance automated adult and juvenile criminal history records;

                    to implement and upgrade automated fingerprint identification systems;

                    to develop systems that facilitate full participation in the FBIís National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) established under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, including full participation in the Interstate Identification Index; and

                    to support development of accurate and complete state sex offender identification and registration systems, and to improve processes for entering data on stalking and domestic violence into local, state, and national databases.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, are eligible to receive NCHIP grants and technical assistance.Applicants must meet a 10 percent match requirement in order to receive NCHIP funds.

The application and additional information about NCHIP or the Bureau of Justice Statistics can be found online at or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 1-800/851-3420.





After hours contact: David Hess, 888/763-8943 (pager)