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When used in reference to a background check, the acronym "CCH" stands for computerized criminal history, a repository of data related to criminal history maintained by the state of Texas. As of November 2010, more than 6 million people arrested in the state of Texas have had their information added to the CCH system. The information contained in the system is used by law enforcement agencies but is generally not accessible to the public.
The CCH system includes information about the arrest and prosecution of anyone arrested in Texas on a class "B" misdemeanor or higher. The record of a person arrested and entered into the CCH system will include a description of the circumstances of his arrest, what crimes he was charged with and the disposition of his case. The person will also be fingerprinted, with the fingerprints stored in the file.
All law enforcement agencies are required to file a CCH report within seven days of an arrest. All incidents that spur the filing of a report are assigned an incident tracking number. This information is then processed and made available to other law enforcement agencies. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, this represents an improvement over paper filing, because the information is processed faster and is made more widely available.
According to the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council, the CCH system serves three main functions: identification, tracking and background checks. The system allows law enforcement officials to identify a person through the use of fingerprints and to identify repeat offenders through access to their rap sheet. It also allows officials to track the supervision status of offenders. Some government agencies can use the system to conduct background checks on individuals who have applied for a particular job or license.
Several agencies are allowed to conduct background checks using the CCH system for noncriminal-justice purposes. These include background checks for people seeking professional licenses, such as medical and legal licenses; people applying for jobs that involve the care of vulnerable populations — such as women and children — or involve a security clearance, such as work at a nuclear power plant; and for people seeking to buy firearms. People are also allowed to access their own CCH records. These records are not accessible to the general public, including employers.
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.