North Carolina to decide if police recorded footage is public record

Police LineOver the past year, there have been a few times where one of the most hot button issues was the outcry over police shootings of unarmed civilians – shootings which some deem to be racially charged.  Headlines have been dominated by police-related deaths in Ferguson, New York, and now Baltimore, and the resulting protests, riots, trials, and calls for justice that inevitably follow. [Read more…]

Report finds biometrics system in Ohio is not always accurate

Background Check Request3M Cognent, the company responsible for various biometric systems that use bio indicators like fingerprints to identify and track individuals may find itself out of a contract in Ohio before too long.  Ohio officials are looking to replace its current biometric criminal records system, created by 3M Cognent, after it’s come to light that the system has been plagued by a plethora of ongoing problems over recent years. [Read more…]

Reports finds Arizona criminal records are 70% accurate

ChecklistEach year, the FBI releases a report in which they audit each and every state for how accurately their criminal records are kept.  The review looks at a combination of overall accuracy as well as the timeliness with which records are kept up to date.  The idea is to make sure that states are monitored and are incentivized to keep their records databases current for the safety of their citizens and the utility of organizations that regularly access them. [Read more…]

School board candidate in Scranton, PA has unusual criminal past

PoliceSometimes criminal records can hint at a person’s character and the expectations one would have of them, and sometimes they only indicate the youthful behavior of a distant path.  Sometimes, in between, there’s a grey area that’s just a bit strange.  Such is the case of Scranton school board candidate Adam Swieciaszek, who has some unusual court documentation backing up his recently revealed criminal past. [Read more…]

Background check mistake causes problems for school volunteer

StressAt their core, background checks are designed to keep us safe.  They allow employers, to a debated degree, to try and weed out unreliable applicants, they let schools and other institutions know that the people working with their children are safe to be doing so, and they allow government bodies to ensure those handling sensitive documents won’t take advantage of the information within them, to name just a few legitimate benefits.  Every once in a while, however, the system can backfire, and the results can be disastrous for the individual or individuals involved. [Read more…]

Gary, IN to help residents with criminal records learn job skills

JobsThe city of Gary, Indiana is set to receive a grant of almost $120,000 in order to create a program aimed at unemployed residents that are having trouble getting jobs in the city.  Specifically, the bill is aimed at helping those who are having trouble getting hired due to a past criminal offense.  Rather than just advocating or helping to give expungement advice, as many similar measures have done elsewhere, this program is to focus specifically on giving residents skills that could help them to start their own businesses in the future. [Read more…]

Truancy cases are a big concern in Texas

GavelTexas is no stranger to unique approaches to its problems, sometimes even bordering on controversy, but one startling fact is putting the state’s schools and criminal records filings simultaneously in the spotlight.  Currently, the state has prosecuted twice as many truancy cases as every single other state combined.  [Read more…]

Arizona bill would vacate criminal records of sex trafficking victims

Erase CrimeAs ugly as sex trafficking is, sometimes the after effects on young men and women caught in the trade can be just as brutal.  Even without the need for extensive therapy and other treatments, the simple number of criminal convictions someone can expect to rack up while under someone else’s thumb can be extensive.  In turn, employment and other opportunities in life can be limited for those who manage to escape the trade – a feat which is already difficult enough on its own. [Read more…]

South Carolina judge revisits old civil rights case

Access DeniedDespite accusations of race bias within the criminal justice system, civil rights movements have undergone a shift in recent decades. Not only has the rise of the internet and instant communication changed how messages and issues are broadcast, but we now, more than ever, have many fragmented fronts occurring simultaneously. In recent years, gay rights have been on the forefront of civil liberty groups’ minds, as has a recent resurgence of neo-feminist ideals. [Read more…]