Compact History

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Compact History

National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact
34 U.S.C. § 40311-40316 (formerly cited as 42 U.S.C.§14611-14616)

What is the Compact

It was determined in the late 1970s that state criminal history records were more accurate and complete, in that the states may have additional arrest and disposition information from state files such as District Attorney records and court records. Because states have varying statutes or policies that restrict the dissemination of records for noncriminal justice purposes, it was determined a federal law, or Compact, was necessary to provide interstate criminal record dissemination authority. For this reason, landmark legislation was signed into law on October 9, 1998 -The National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact (Compact). This legislation continues the dynamic movement toward decentralization of criminal history record information that began in 1978. The Compact became effective April 28, 1999 when ratified by two states, Montana and Georgia (See 34 U.S.C. § 40311-40316).

Creation of the Compact Council

The Compact established a 15-member Council whose members are appointed by the U.S. Attorney General. The Council is comprised of representatives from federal and state or local criminal and noncriminal justice agencies. The Council monitors the operations of the Interstate Identification Index (III), a national system which facilitates the exchange of automated criminal history record information. The Council also promulgates rules and procedures for the effective and proper use of the III System for noncriminal justice purposes.

Why do we need the Compact?

State laws and policies regarding the dissemination of criminal history record information for noncriminal justice purposes vary widely. Ratification of the Compact enables a state to become an “open record” state by permitting the interstate exchange of criminal history records for noncriminal justice purposes.

National background checks are deemed necessary in today’s transient society in order to protect our nation’s most vulnerable assets -the elderly, disabled, and children. Hence, there is an ever increasing need to evaluate or determine eligibility for various employment and volunteer positions. The demand for background checks for employment and volunteer purposes has more than doubled in recent years.

Steps to Decentralization

  1. States participate in the Interstate Identification Index (III)
    The state’s centralized criminal history record repository agrees to make its III indexed records available in response to requests from federal and out of state criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes. The FBI maintains a duplicate record to meet the needs of Federal, state, and local noncriminal justice agencies and private entities that use III information for authorized noncriminal justice purposes.
  2. States ratify the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Act of 1998
    States must make all unsealed criminal history record information available in response to authorized noncriminal justice requests. The Compact, when signed by a state, supersedes any conflicting state laws, and this allows for uniform dissemination among states, while ensuring that each state will participate in the National Fingerprint File (NFF) program.
  3. State participation in the NFF
    The NFF concept places the management and responsibility for the effective control, collection, maintenance, and dissemination of state record files solely with the state. NFF states respond to record requests for all authorized purposes, and the FBI ceases to maintain duplicate records.

Compact Council Mission

To enhance public safety through noncriminal justice background checks based on positive identification, while protecting individual privacy rights.

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Council Chair
Jason Bright
Telephone: 406-444-3481


FBI Compact Officer
Chasity S. Anderson
Telephone: 304-625-2803

Current Compact States


April 8, 1999


April 28, 1999


May 14, 1999


June 8, 1999


March 10, 2000


April 7, 2000


July 1,2000

South Carolina

June 22, 2000


February 21, 2001


April 10, 2001


July 1, 2001


June 8, 2001


September 1, 2001

New Jersey

January 5, 2002


August 1, 2002


April 29, 2002


May 28, 2003

North Carolina

June 19, 2003

New Hampshire

June 30, 2003


August 23, 2003


April 7, 2004


February 17, 2005


May 26, 2005


July 1, 2005


January 1, 2006

West Virginia

June 8, 2006


May 8, 2006


January 13, 2009


July 1, 2010

New York

March 28, 2013


July 1, 2017


May 8, 2018


August 1, 2018


July 4, 2019


July 1, 2023

As of April 25, 2023

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