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42% of Felony Background Checks are Erroneous

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According to the Government Accountability Office, government background checks identifying convicted felons were erroneous at least 42 percent of the time.

Thousands of job seekers with clean records have been flagged as criminals. Read more about the problem in this New York Times article.

Two other related problems include convicted felons who aren’t flagged in background checks, and even the most trusted databases including arrest records but no indication if the person was convicted of a crime.

Not all public record information is available from any single site and some of it isn’t valid. Public records search firms offer notoriously inaccurate basic background check reports because it’s too time consuming to check every state and local database.

It’s understandable that employers refuse to hire those with certain offenses such as violent crime or theft. However, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what a disqualifying offense should be for certain jobs, and the ever-increasing number of offenses an individual can be arrested for is troubling. A criminal conviction may be something victimless like being caught sans clothing with your lover on a deserted public beach late at night.

Any arrest whatsoever can ruin a person’s chances for a successful career. But don’t blame the cops. They simply enforce laws enacted by politicians, like those in the U.S. Congress.

An aside, today’s law enforcement seems more about collecting revenue than keeping us safe. Victimless crime constitutes more than 80% of the U.S. federal prison population. Trillions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on the drug war, U.S. prison boom, harsh sentences for petty and victimless crimes, and a wasteful criminal justice system.

There is no shortage of dangerous and dishonest people in the world. The purpose of a background check is to uncover personality red flags. But in order to do this effectively, you must utilize more than just a routine public records check.

To uncover any potential problem areas, I recommend a range of employment and, or psychological evaluations, comprehensive public records background checks, and multiple interviews.

To really get to know someone, use more sophisticated options, such as traditional security investigations, and handwriting analysis, included in my non-traditional security investigations.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Petullo

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