Earlier this year we told you about the mess Ohio’s computerized background check system has become. The state has been trying to fix the aged system, but the price tag for that solution is outrageous.
According to the Ohio Times Reporter, the state’s Attorney General’s office has received five bids to replace both the hardware and software that make up the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (BCI) system. The bids range from just under $6 million to $17.72 million, and that doesn’t even include the annual maintenance fees! Nearly $500,000 has already been spent on a consultant to help plan the replacement project.
For a cash-strapped government, the numbers might be disheartening. But the cold, hard truth is that having a failing system puts everyone at risk. Last year Ohio’s WBNS-TV reported that the system was missing convictions, so employers were getting clean record reports when they did background checks on some convicted criminals. Convictions were taking months to get into the system. The ailing system also let hundreds of teachers, foster parents and others slide through without any alerts being raised about their criminal charges.
Employers are not the only ones at risk. The BCI also provides criminal history information for police across the state, and for the FBI. The current contractor that was supposed to maintain the system has been fined for letting it fall into such disrepair.
The bids are now being evaluated. A new system is not expected to be online for at least 18 to 36 months.