Virginia's Missing Fingerprints

One of the great outcomes of advances in technology is an increased access to information, particularly regarding courts and law enforcement.  Offender databases can help ensure that convicted criminals aren’t headed back to work in professions tied to their crimes or that may encourage recidivism.  This database is also used for gun and background checks.

A database is only as good as what’s contained within it though, and in Virginia, some 750,000 records were missing from its convictions database.  The reason why these records were missing is because the state only enters them when fingerprints have been taken.  In some cases, fingerprints weren’t required and in others, holes in the process caused them to not be taken.

While not all of the missing files are from serious infractions, they include over 300 murder convictions and 1,300 rape convictions.  Around 35 percent of the cases were felonies.

To remedy this, going forward, anyone arrested for a jailable crime or a variety of misdemeanors will need to have their fingerprints taken and be entered into the Virginia database.  Additionally, the state has a half million sets of fingerprints already on file from the correctional system.  These can be cross-referenced with the database to eliminate some of the legwork that will be needed to remedy the 750,000 missing records.

Virginia is hoping to fix this process, both for the existing 750,000 records and those going forward.  Solutions include requiring fingerprints when a summons is issued.  Additionally, judges, court officials, and probation officers are encouraged to check the fingerprint database throughout criminal justice proceedings.

Extract knows how important data is to a properly functioning organization.  Whether it’s sensitive data you need to redact, or index data that needs to be captured, we can help automate your workflows, increasing your data entry speed and accuracy.  If you’d like to learn more about how we do this, please reach out today.

About the Author: Chris Mack

Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing.  Chris received his bachelor’s degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.