New York Criminal Records

The State of New York keeps a very closed policy regarding privacy when it comes to criminal background checks. The two main institutions that perform those kinds of operations are the New York State Unified Court System and the Criminal Identification Unit, which is a part of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

It's possible to perform a a valid and accurate background check through the Unified Court System. However, the system requires the requester to present the exact name and date of birth of the subject of the background check and to pay a fee of $65. If the name or the date of birth are not in the database, or if they are even slightly inaccurate, the check will fruitless. Requests must be made personally or via mail. To learn more about how to perform a background check through the New York State Unified Court System, visit their website.

The Criminal Identification Unit manages all their Criminal Record requests through the private company MorphoTrust USA. In order to perform a background check through the Criminal Identification Unit, it's necessary to contact MorphoTrust USA and schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. When visiting MorphoTrust USA's offices, it's mandatory to bring along two different forms of identification to pay the process fee of $60.75. Note that this whole process is only useful for those who are interested in having their own personal criminal records, and this system will not handle the criminal records of a third party to any individual other than the subject's appointed lawyer. Further instructions and explanations can be found at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services' website website here. You can book an appointment on the MorphoTrust USA site.

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision offers an Inmate Search option at their website. Even though the search engine allows to look up for inmates who have been released or discharged, the returned reports are not so exhaustive or detailed. Those reports include a simple physical description, the current status of the subject and the felonies or misdemeanors committed. The reports don't include a picture or an accurate or detailed physical description. The report features a list of crimes of conviction, but the list is only four lines long so, if an inmate has a longer track record, the list will only show the four crimes with the longer sentences. To access the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's database, visit this website.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services manages the Official New York Sex Offender Registry. The registry has an online search engine which is very accessible and easy to use. When performing a search, the system returns really detailed reports on the offenders. These reports include picture, physical description, personal data, known address, known vehicle, detailed information on the offence committed, information on the victim and even a map locator supported only by Internet Explorer 4.0.7 or higher or Netscape 6.01 or higher. In order to look up the Official New York Sex Offender Registry, check out their website.

New York City passes “Fair Chance Act”

ApprovedThere has been a growing trend across the United States over the past few years of passing legislation, both at the city and state level, which bans the use of employer background checks – at least early on in the hiring process. In general, these acts are meant to recognize the sometimes extenuating circumstances that surround past convictions. Often, crimes are committed at a young age, yet follow those convicted for the rest of their lives, putting housing, employment, and other opportunities that most take for granted out of reach, or at least that much more difficult to obtain. [Read more…]

New York City prison guard hiring practices under review

DeniedWhen hiring someone to watch over New York’s incarcerated, you’d think it would be an important consideration to not hire a criminal for the job.  In an awkward and potentially dangerous reveal of prison guard hiring practices, however, that seems to be exactly what’s happened. [Read more…]

NY colleges stop asking applicants about criminal records

Background Check RequestFor a long time, the debate has raged on over what employers should be able to ask or not ask applicants about their history with criminal activity, when in the process such information should be unearthed, and what exactly counts; convictions? Sure. What about arrests? Well, there it starts to get a bit blurry. [Read more…]

New York to give children’s organizations access to federal databases

Background Check RequestChildren’s organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, are now pushing for laws in New York City that would allow them better access to criminal background information for potential staffers and employees. Sen. Charles Schumer is the one proposing the legislation, which would allow such organizations to access federal criminal and other databases to fully evaluate the risk of a potential new hire. [Read more…]

New York resident unwittingly finds himself on renter blacklist

DeniedImagine the following scenario: You’re a doctorate student of 28 years old, with years of rental history under your belt. You’re smart about your payment schedule and you keep your debts in control. One day, it comes time to move and you’re looking for another apartment to begin the next chapter of your life in. You look around, and settle on a lovely apartment, and begin on the paper work. Part way through the process, however, you get a call to let you know that your application has been denied, and won’t be moved forward. You inquire as to the reason, and the answer shocks you: You’re on the city’s “renter blacklist,” and you’re going to have trouble finding anyone to rent you a property. [Read more…]

New York will fine employers that ask about criminal records

DollarsNew York has just taken a big step toward improving employability prospects for those with criminal records with the introduction of the “Fair Chance” bill. The bill, if enacted permanently, would ban employers from asking, whether in interviews or on applications, about a potential employee’s criminal record. In fact, any attempt to hint at an applicant’s criminal past would be actionable, with a potential fine for the employer of up to $1,000 in damages. [Read more…]

New York shooting victims get handcuffed in hospitals

HandcuffsImagine this if you can. You are shot on the streets of New York City. One minute you are walking down the sidewalk, the next you wake up in a hospital bed, days later. Forget the reason for the shooting, because even if you are merely hit by a stray bullet, you will find yourself handcuffed to the hospital bed. [Read more…]

Liberal politicians push for stricter gun background check system

GunTwenty years ago, a law requiring gun buyers to undergo and pass background checks was created. Licensed firearm dealers in several states in the country are the ones who conduct these checks. However, various states such as Alaska fail to share relevant data about individuals who are barred from legal possession of firearms due to mental illnesses. This was revealed in a report that was based on the latest data gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unfortunately, any failures in sharing these important records leads to alarming gaps in the database that was intended to prevent unlawful individuals from owning firearms. [Read more…]