Business needs to be able to conduct background checks, as do individuals hiring people, and it should be a simple straight forward process. Knowing if someone has a criminal record, even without all of the details, as this article from the Washington Post reports, is still vitally important for public safety.

The obstruction placed in the path of reformation many claim background checks to be is a result of an individual choosing to commit criminal acts, which choice, should preclude criminals from having the same type of open access to society and all its manifestations, until a period of penance and true rehabilitation has been observed.

Consequences of doing wrong are a central part of justice.

An excerpt from the Post article.

Employers are increasingly turning to the FBI’s criminal databases to screen job applicants, sparking concerns about the accuracy of the agency’s information and the potential for racial discrimination.

Many of the FBI’s records list only arrests and not the outcomes of those cases, such as convictions. Consumer groups say that missing information often results in job applicants who are wrongfully rejected. A lawsuit filed against the Commerce Department by minorities alleges that the use of incomplete databases means that African Americans and Hispanics are denied work in disproportionate numbers.

The FBI’s background checks “might be considered the gold standard, but these records are a mess,” said Madeline Neighly, staff lawyer at the National Employment Law Project.

NELP is slated to release a report Tuesday showing that the FBI processed nearly 17 million employment background checks last year — six times more than it did a decade ago. The advocacy group estimates that as many as 600,000 of those reports contain incomplete or inaccurate information.

In a statement, the FBI said it receives its data from state records agencies, and states are responsible for keeping the information updated.

Background checks can serve as important safety precautions, helping to ensure that sex offenders do not get hired at day-care centers, for example. The FBI emphasized that the agency is not involved in hiring decisions, but the number of industries that use its data to screen workers skyrocketed after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Because of new regulations, port workers, truck drivers and even mortgage processors must now undergo FBI background checks, turning the agency’s rap sheets into a virtual gateway to millions of jobs.