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Employers and state occupation licensing boards often depend on states’ criminal record repositories as primary resources when performing a criminal record background check. However, these entities may not realize that a search of these record repositories may not be as accurate and complete as assumed, regardless if fingerprints are submitted.

Every two years the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics releases an extensive Survey of State Criminal Record Repositories. The latest survey, released December 2015 and based on statistics complied as of Dec 31, 2014, is a 117-page document with 36 data tables. The survey is available at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/249799.pdf.

Below are some eye-catching facts reflected from the current Survey: •

  • 8 states report 25% or more of all dispositions received could NOT be linked to the arrest/charge information in the state criminal record database.
  • 14 states don’t know how many dispositions they have that cannot be linked. (Table 8a)
  • 20 states have over 3 million unprocessed or partially processed court dispositions, ranging from 200 in Michigan and North Dakota to over 1 million in Nevada.
  • 11 states report at least a 50 day backlog between the time when a felony case is decided and when the record is entered in that state’s criminal history database.
  • 18 states do not know how long the delay is.

Source: BRB Publications, Inc., (Posted June 16, 2016) © •

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