This web site was copied prior to January 20, 2005. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]
Graphic CJIS Logo
Graphic banner for Fingerprint Identification An Overview
Graphic spacer
Graphic link to About CJIS Graphic link to NCIC Graphic link to IAFIS Graphic link to NICS Graphic link to UCR/NIBRS Graphic link to LEO Graphic link to Compact Council Graphic link to APB Graphic link to COP Graphic link to Fingerprint Identification Graphic link to Directions to CJIS Graphic spacer

Training Information
Arrest Disposition Submission
(for fingerprint-based arrests maintained by the FBI)

Taking Legible Fingerprints

FBI Identification Record Request


Criminal Identification by means of fingerprints is one of the most potent factors in apprehending fugitives who might otherwise escape arrest and continue their criminal activities indefinitely. This type of identification also makes possible an accurate determination of the number of previous arrests and convictions which results in the imposition of more equitable sentences by the judiciary. In addition, this system of identification enables the prosecutor to present its case in the light of the offender's previous record. It also provides probation officers, parole board, and the Governor with definite information upon which to base their judgment in dealing with criminals in their jurisdiction. Picture of Fingerprint Technicians at terminals

Fingerprint Identification is the method of identification using the impressions made by the minute ridge formations or patterns found on the fingertips. No two persons have exactly the same arrangement of ridge patterns, and the patterns of any one individual remain unchanged throughout life. Fingerprints offer an infallible means of personal identification.

Other personal characteristics may change, but fingerprints do not.

Fingerprints can be recorded on a standard fingerprint card or can be recorded digitally and transmitted electronically to the FBI for comparison. By comparing fingerprints at the scene of a crime with the fingerprint record of suspected persons, officials can establish absolute proof of the presence or identity of a person.

Download the printable version of the Fingerprint Overview (pdf file 231k)

Graphic link to get Acrobat Reader

Some of the publications on this site are in PDF (Portable Document Format). To view them you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 or higher installed on your computer. The Reader can be downloaded at no cost from Adobe's site on the World Wide Web.


| About CJIS | NCIC | IAFIS | NICS | UCR/NIBRS | LEO | APB | COP | Fingerprint Identification |
| Compact Council | Directions to CJIS | CJIS Homepage | FBI Homepage |