skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 204587 Find in a Library
Title: Law Enforcement: Information on Timeliness of Criminal Fingerprint Submissions to the FBI
Corporate Author: US Government Accountability Office
United States of America
Date Published: January 2004
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20013
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
Publication Number: GAO-04-260
Sale Source: US Government Accountability Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Annual/Periodic)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This GAO report assesses the timeliness of criminal fingerprint submissions by local and State law enforcement agencies to the FBI for inclusion in the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).
Abstract: Fingerprint analysis, when completed in a timely fashion, informs fundamental criminal justice decisionmaking concerning detention, charging, bail, and sentencing. To facilitate the use of fingerprint analysis for criminal prosecution, the FBI implemented the IAFIS in 1999 with the goal of achieving electronic processing and improving the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint identification process. State and local jurisdictions arrest 94 percent of the Nation’s felony and misdemeanor offenders, taking fingerprints each time. Copies of fingerprints are submitted to each State’s central repository, and in turn, to the FBI for entry into the IAFIS. This assessment focuses on three central issues: (1) the importance of IAFIS to local and State law enforcement agencies; (2) progress made at the State and local levels toward the FBI’s goal of achieving electronic fingerprint processing; and (3) efforts made at the State and local levels to improve the timeliness of fingerprint submissions to the FBI. The assessment was based on data collected through interviews with FBI officials and from reviews of statistics, studies, and other information regarding fingerprint submissions. Additionally, interviews and reviews of relevant data were conducted in five States: Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, and New Mexico. All data collection occurred between March and December 2003. Results of the assessment indicate that the IAFIS is important to local and State law enforcement agencies because it facilitates updates to national criminal records databases and also because it allows agencies to obtain complete criminal records on suspects. The importance of the IAFIS is illustrated by the high number of requests for IAFIS information. Although local and State agencies have made some progress toward the FBI’s goal of electronic processing of criminal fingerprints, improvements are still warranted. During the 8 months of the assessment, the overall average time for submission of fingerprints to the IAFIS was 40 days, down from 118 days in 1997. A number of efforts have been put forth to improve the timeliness of fingerprint submissions, such as the availability of technical and financial Federal support including Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) grants. Ongoing efforts continue to be made as the need for automated fingerprint processing continues to grow. Figures, tables, appendix
Main Term(s): Automated fingerprint processing; US Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Index Term(s): Databases; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Local criminal justice systems; State criminal justice systems
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.