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The Compact Act

The Compact Act

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The Compact Act

National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact
42 U.S.C. 14611-16

The Compact Act

On October 9, 1998, President Clinton signed into law the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Act of 1998 (Compact), allowing party states to disseminate their criminal history record information to other states for noncriminal justice purposes in accordance with the laws of the receiving state. This landmark legislation continues the dynamic movement toward decentralization of criminal history records that began in 1978 with the Interstate Identification Index (III) project.

The III System is an index pointer system that ties computerized criminal history record files of the FBI and the centralized files maintained by each III participating state into a national system. This system serves as the vehicle for data sharing and integration across the country. Eventually, when all of the states become full participants in this system, the FBI’s centralized files of state offender records will be discontinued and all users of criminal history records, for both criminal justice and authorized noncriminal justice purposes, will obtain those records directly from the states’ central computerized files.

The Compact was necessary to facilitate record sharing as it supersedes any conflicting laws in states where it is adopted and provides a uniform dissemination standard among states. The Compact serves as the final critical element toward complete decentralization of criminal history records.

The passage of the Compact legislation required considerable effort among the states and the FBI for more than twenty years. The Compact became effective, by its terms, when ratified by the second state, on April 28, 1999.

A Standard for Uniform Criminal History Record Dissemination

Ratification of the Compact will establish a uniform, nationwide standard governing the interstate dissemination of criminal history records for noncriminal justice purposes.

This will ensure the Federal agencies will continue to receive the state criminal records needed to screen persons for employment in sensitive positions and for other authorized purposes. In addition, authorized state agencies will continue to receive the out-of-state records needed to screen state employees and licensees.

Each state will determine what criminal history record information is disseminated within its borders for noncriminal justice purposes. States will continue to apply their own dissemination laws to in-state use of their own records, and will screen out-of-state records received through the III System pursuant to their own laws.

States will participate as an integral part of the national criminal history record system, establishing technology standards, supporting consistency and uniformity, thereby increasing the utility of data sharing and integration.

Increased Record Quality

There will be an increase in the completeness of records made available on an interstate basis for both criminal justice and noncriminal justice purposes. As a result, records maintained at the state repositories may contain additional arrest disposition information than the FBI’s files. Also, many of the states maintain records of some misdemeanor offenses that have not been submitted to the FBI.

Cost Avoidance

U.S. Flag (Stock Image)Duplicate maintenance of criminal history records by the states and the FBI, and attendant costs, will be eliminated. The states will be relieved of the burden and cost of submitting all arrest fingerprints and charge/disposition data to the FBI. Instead, the states will submit to the FBI, only fingerprints and textual identification data for each person’s first arrest and update the FBI’s index and National Fingerprint File.

Council Chairman
Ms. Dawn A. Peck
Telephone: 208-884-7136
email: dawn.peck@isp.idaho.gov

FBI Compact Officer
Mr.Gary S. Barron
Telephone: 304-625-2803
email:
gary.barron@ic.fbi.gov

Council’s Role in Setting III System Policy

States need the assurance of a policy voice sufficient to protect their interests as the III System evolves. Since the criminal history records available through the III System will be predominantly state-maintained records, the states need assurance that the use of these records will be consistent with state concerns in areas such as privacy, system security, and data quality.

The Compact provides for the establishment of a Council that shall have the authority to promulgate rules and procedures governing the use of the III System for noncriminal justice purposes. The Council is composed of 15 members appointed by the U.S. Attorney General. The membership composition and terms specified under Article VI of the Compact requires nine of the fifteen Council members to be state Compact Officer or state repository administrators.

The Chairman of the Council may establish committees as necessary to carry out the Compact. Three noteworthy committees have been established. The Standards and Policy Committee assesses technical and performance standards and formulates policies, procedures, and rules regarding the use of the III System for noncriminal justice purposes. The Sanctions Committee assesses compliance with Compact provisions and Council rules, procedures, and standards prescribed by the Council; and recommends remedial action for noncompliance. The Planning and Outreach Committee updates and monitors the Council’s strategic plan and bylaws and executes outreach initiatives to increase Compact and National Fingerprint File participation, and to expand the Council’s partnership throughout the entire noncriminal justice community.

Current Compact States


January 2014

For more information contact:
Compact Council Office
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306
(304) 625-2803