Criminal records in the United States contain records of arrests, criminal charges and the disposition of those charges. Criminal records are compiled and updated on local, state, and federal levels by government agencies, most often law enforcement agencies. Their primary purpose is to present a comprehensive criminal history for a specific individual.
In Canada, criminal records are stored in Criminal Records Information Management Services, a centralized database operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) since 1972. The database includes all convictions for which a pardon has not been granted, all charges regardless of disposition, outstanding warrants and charges, all judicial orders and other information that might be of interest to police investigations.
The goal of the system is to compile the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive arrest and disposition information for arrested persons and to make this information accessible to all criminal justice agencies. Criminal history information is a valuable tool for law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Law enforcement agencies have the capability to make inquiries of this system electronically through the Louisiana Law Enforcement Message Switch (LEMS).
The Criminal History Records Section of the Arizona Department of Public Safety serves as the Central State Repository for criminal records in the State of Arizona (see Arizona Revised Statute §41-1750). The subject of a criminal record may review the information contained in the record for the SOLE PURPOSE OF REVIEWING THE ACCURACY AND COMPLETENESS OF THEIR RECORD.
Those seeking employment in the government relating in a field of national security, law enforcement, or other field of safety or security may look into a persons background not disclosed in applications. Those who fail a polygraph test may not be selected. In the United States laws regarding the use are under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act.
Criminal histories are maintained by law enforcement agencies in all levels of government. Local police departments, sheriffs' offices, and specialty police agencies may maintain their own internal databases. On the state level, state police, troopers, highway patrol, correctional agencies, and other law enforcement agencies also maintain separate databases. Law enforcement agencies often share this information with other similar enforcement agencies and this information is usually made available to the public.
U.S. citizens may be asked to present a “certificate of good conduct” or “lack of a criminal record” for a variety of reasons for use abroad, including adoption, school attendance, employment, etc. U.S. law enforcement authorities may not be familiar with such a procedure since it is not commonly requested in the United States. There are a variety of options available to U.S. citizens seeking to obtain proof of their lack of a criminal record.
Protecting yourself against this kind of fraud is not as easy. It requires keeping a studious eye on your credit reports on all three credit reporting services. In addition, recovering from identity takeover can be complicated and painful. Fortunately, an entire service industry has popped up to do the monitoring and recovery for you. You can read our reviews of the best identity theft protection services to learn more.
With an international background check, the employer can get international criminal records, education, and employment verification. Depending on the information employers need, they may pay for one, two, or all three. Costs vary by service provider, but GoodHire’s pricing for international checks ranges from $14.99 to $59.99, depending on the country.
A fingerprint background check, or Identity History Summary, is often used in conjunction with other background checks and is most often used as part of the pre-employment screening process. A fingerprint background check is mandatory for government-run institutions such as public schools, airports, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and fire departments.
Private prisons are prisons that are owned and operated by private companies in the United States. Prison privatization began because governments across the United States needed additional prison capacity they did not have. To choose the company that will run a certain prison, bids are held and the company with the most desirable bid wins. The company that gets chosen is in charge of taking over the daily operations of the prison, such as providing prisoners with supplies, hiring staff, providing prisoners with mandated programs, etc. As of 2018, private prisons in the United States house over 120,000 inmates – about 8% of the total prison population in the country.
Due to the sensitivity of the information contained in consumer reports and certain records, there are a variety of important laws regulating the dissemination and legal use of this information. Most notably, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of consumer reports (which it defines as information collected and reported by third party agencies) as it pertains to adverse decisions, notification to the applicant, and destruction and safekeeping of records.