Category Archives: Uncategorized

Change in Direction on Drug Sentencing

A recent move by Attorney General Sessions denotes a significant change in direction for the federal government in regards to sentencing of drug offenders.  The Attorney General reinforced the need for prosecutors to seek maximum sentences on drug offenders and such a move could alter the use of criminal histories in the employment screening arena.  However, many oppose this initiative and believe it is a step in the wrong direction as it would bring back the failed drug war policies of the 1980’s.  Additionally according to the NPR.org site quoting Michael Collin, deputy director at the Drug Policy Alliance stated that “This is a disastrous move that will increase the prison population, exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and do nothing to reduce drug use or increase public safety”.

It appears that the Trump agenda is to crack down hard on drug offenders which is a big difference than the more lenient Obama era’s approach which moved away from previous statutes with mandatory minimum sentencing laws.  The Obama administration took this approach as advocates say those strict drug offense statutes were used disproportionally against minorities and led to massive overcrowding of prisons.

It is clear how quickly change can occur when a new administration takes over the Executive Branch of the government.  If the Judicial Branch starts handing down maximum drug sentences than this could affect pre-employment background screening as low level offenders which may have been previously acceptable to employers now may not be with the same type of candidates with maximum sentences showing up on their rap sheet.

With the return to maximum sentences for drug offenses there may be a reaction down the road similar to ban-the-box. Ultimately policy will change and a best practice as a hiring manager is to work with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening company.

Anyhow, the recent move by the Attorney General should at least cause employers to review and possibly revise their employment screening policies, especially their rejectionable offense lists to determine whether a low level drug offense could or should be grounds for rejection.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here.

Ban-the-Box Type Policies May Impact College Admissions

Ban-the-Box legislation has swept across the country in recent years and is now being considered by institutions of higher learning both Colleges and Universities.  As legislated by state and local jurisdictions as well as several private companies “Ban-the-Box” eliminates the question of criminal history on the application and controls when a criminal background check can be conducted.

From TheAtlantic.com (Apr. 29, 16):

(1)   The long-running “Ban the Box” campaign is now gaining ground at colleges and universities. The movement aims to protect job, and now student, applicants from being asked about their criminal histories and was recently bolstered by President Obama, who is taking executive action to ban the practice at federal agencies. Campus officials say the background question helps them learn as much as possible about prospective students and allows them to take steps to keep everyone on campus safe. But opponents say the question—which requires prospective students to check a box if they have criminal histories—is an undue barrier that harms certain groups of students.  theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/ban-the-box-comes-to-campus/480195/

New York University now will no longer consider every criminal conviction on an applicant’s record regardless of severity as part of their undergraduate admissions process.  Instead the University will use a new set of questions such as has the applicant been convicted of or disciplined for violent incidents.  Additionally research has shown that the question of past criminal history records does not predict future behavior in a significant way.

Also from Gothamist.com (Aug. 02, 16):

(1)   Studies have shown that having the box on college applications doesn’t make campuses any safer, and NYU reached the same conclusion after an internal assessment of its own disciplinary records. “NYU took a look at the NYU disciplinary records of enrolled students who had checked the box against the overall undergraduate NYU population,” Knoll-Finn stated. “We found no meaningful differences in the rates of infractions.”  gothamist.com/2016/08/02/nyu_crime_disclosure_box.php

Changes in background screening have been developing very quickly over the past few years with major changes being seen in the employment screening arena and the tenant screening arena.  It was just a matter of time before Colleges and Universities started to examine their own application process and admissions policies.  Starting with what questions to ask for along with how they evaluate information derived from student applications.  This new trend of admission polices being seriously scrutinized had led to meaningful changes to the standard admission application process.  This new readiness highlights a new area where third party background screening companies can be utilized to assist Colleges and Universities make significant changes to their applicant background screening process.  These background screening companies can assist the institutions of higher learning to develop and conduct applicant background checks that is compliant with all relevant laws and that help students with a criminal past have a shot at bettering their life.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2016-8-24-Ban-the-Box-Type-Policies-May-Impact-Public-and-Private-Institutions-of-Higher-Learning-Admission-Policies.html

 

Use of Criminal Histories Being Scrutinized in Employment Screening

As laws change regarding the legal and lawful use of criminal history checks in the pre-employment background screening process compliance becomes an issue.  As ban-the-box legislation continues to spread across the country companies and organizations need to make sure their employment screening policies are compliant with all relevant laws.  As ban-the-box legislation gets adopted by cities, counties and states it is important now more than ever that companies and organizations use a professional third party background screening company to help them remain compliant and insuring they are in good standing with the FCRA.

New laws like ban-the box which makes employers remove the question asking the applicant if they have a criminal record can cause confusion with companies and organizations.  This confusion however can be avoided by utilizing a professional national background screening company to conduct the criminal background checks on their behalf.

Criminal checks even under ban-the-box can still be performed by companies and organizations prior to employment.  However, they have to wait until a conditional offer is made before checking if the job applicant has a criminal history.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is tasked with enforcing discrimination laws and seeks legal action against companies and organizations that maintain discriminatory hiring practices.  The EEOC and ban-the-box legislation are trying to ensure an even playing field for all job applicants even those with a criminal past.  Recent legislation across the country aims to create a fair and equal entry to employment.

In the current employment screening climate employers should work with third party background screening companies to help them become or remain compliant with federal, state and local laws governing the use of criminal records, consumer reports and/or public records.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found  here.

Ban-The-Box is Prompting Employers to Review Employment Screening Policies

The Ban-the-Box initiative is showing a trend across the nation as more cities and States add such legislation forcing employers in those jurisdictions to review their employment screening policies. As Ban-the-Box laws get passed employers who have to abide by these new laws cannot immediately disqualify a job candidate due to checking off the box that asks if the applicant has a criminal record or not. Instead employers need to wait until at least an interview with the applicant has taken place and cannot run criminal background checks on the job applicant until after that interview or before hiring if the candidate was in fact otherwise qualified for the job.

Ban-the-Box has become a catalyst for employment screening policy revisions across the country. It is important for employers to understand these laws so their employment screening policies and procedures are compliant with new laws governing the use of background checks in the hiring process. Employers should partner with a professional third party background screening company to help them become and remain compliant in a rapidly changing employment screening environment. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2015-1-15-To-Expand-Background-Checks-or-Not-to-Expand-Background-Checks.html

 

Universities Adding Criminal History and Sex Offender Questions

The University of Washington recently made changes to their new student application process. They added questions asking if the applicant has had a violent criminal history or are registered sex offenders. The University will not automatically deny enrollment to any applicant that reveals this information to them, instead the application gets forwarded to a special committee for additional review. Other education institutions in the USA also ask questions during the student application process regarding criminal history and sex offender status. With the EEOC and ‘Ban the Box’ legislation going on in the country today it makes more and more sense for educational institutions to work with a professional third party background screening company to help keep their application process compliant with current law and trends. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2013-9-10-College-Applications-Include-Criminal-History-and-Sex-Offender-Questions.html

Are Background Checks Accurate?

Most background checks performed through a professional background screening company are very accurate and reliable. However, in the news recently a woman was connected to a felony criminal record because of identity confusion. This is rare but occasionally happens when performing background checks. When this happens any professional background screening company would be able to assist the person in correcting the mistake and clearing the slate which should have been clear to begin with. CriminalBackgroundRecords.com has been a professional background screening company for over a decade and assists its clients with all aspects of background screening particularly employment and pre-employment screening. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2013-1-7-How-Accurate-Are-Background-Checks.html

College Football, Criminal Background Checks, and Penn State

Penn State University recently changed its policies regarding hits hiring protocol. Now the University is requiring job applicants and third-party employees to undergo a criminal background check. The sex abuse scandal and cover up put the University under the microscope and all over the news. Performing a criminal background check with a 50-State sex offender check is a policy that every University and business should incorporate in their employment screening platform. Utilizing a professional third party background screening company like CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is the best way to ensure you are getting the most up to date accurate and complete criminal background check available in the USA. To read more about Penn State and their new criminal background check policy read recent press release found at: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2012-09-12-College-Football-Criminal-Background-Checks.html

Dealing with Discrepancies in Criminal Records Reports

The criminal record retrieval industry is not a perfect industry and criminal records found may not be yours or the person being investigated.  With most criminal record matching logic being based solely on name match only pairing, the possibilities of false positives can be alarming.  For people just looking for as much public records as they can find on an individual sorting through these numerous records is bearable, however not for human resources.  Using criminal records searching as part of the employment screening process is becoming more precise with less arbitrary data being reviewed or even considered.  Modern day human resources only want to see relevant criminal records on prospective hires and want to know that the criminal records returned actually belong to the person being investigated.

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is leading the industry in this area and has processes and operations in place to deal with discrepancies in criminal record reports as well as the ability to facilitate removal and or expungement of certain court ordered criminal records.

Retailers Should Vet Part-Time Help Same as Full-Time.

With Americans going back to school and retailers competing on prices for back-to-school items like pencils and notebooks the scent of winter and the holidays is already in the air.  Many retailers will soon be gearing up for the busy holiday season and once again will need to hire a wide variety of part-time/season help.  Even though most temporary jobs and seasonal employment do not  come with the benefits granted to full time help (mainly health insurance), these temporary or seasonal employees appear to inflict only small costs to their retail employer.  This is true except for one risk.  The risk that a temp, part-time or seasonal employee steals from you or causes damages to person or property while on the clock or worse.  With pre-employment background checks now available for $30 or less per applicant retailers can no longer go on not screening their new hires, part-time or full-time.

View Related Press Release titled: Retail Background Checks

Why Juvenile Criminal Records Should be Sealed

A criminal record is typically considered a juvenile criminal record if the perpetrator of the crime was under the age of 18 when they committed the crime. Many people who have committed a felony or other serious criminal offense in their youth did so out of peer pressure, being in the wrong crowd, adolescent emotion or from other outside influences that don’t completely represent the individual.  In these cases these juveniles have to deal with the court system, perform community service, pay restitution, and spend time in a correctional facility or some other kind of punishment for the wrong they have done.  These individuals quite often are not repeat offenders and can easily be re-assimilated back into free society and become productive law abiding citizens.  For this reason the United States of America’s court systems usually seal juvenile records from the public view thus allowing these individuals to enter adulthood with a clean slate and not allow a singularity in their past to prevent them from creating a worthwhile future.

View the full article:  Juvenile Criminal Records: What Can Be Done to Clean the Slate?