What effect does recidivism have on your background check policy? First let’s define recidivism. Recidivism is the likelihood that someone who broke the law and was convicted once, will do it again after being set free. When you are hiring someone for your firm, you want to be as sure as possible that the individual is not going to be likely to engage in the unacceptable past criminal behavior while in your employ.
Let’s make quick mention of the importance of a job description in this process. It is so important for an employer to have a clear and up to date job description. The job description provides a clear presentation to the applicant and to any other inquiring authorities as to why certain previous criminal conviction behavior will result in removal from the employment process.
Now getting back to recidivism. Why is the consideration of recidivism important in your background check policy? Because it impacts how many years of addresses you decide to research. It is first of all most important to state that it is not ever possible to be 100% assured that a criminal conviction can be found in a person’s background. There are almost 4000 counties in the United States. People move and change their addresses. Even after spending tens of thousands of dollars it would not be possible to be absolutely sure a criminal conviction has been located. So, any employer needs to strike a balance between achieving a level of assurance that criminal convictions are found and the amount of dollars budgeted for this investigation.
The farther you go back in researching an individual’s history of addresses the more likely you will find a criminal conviction in an individual’s background. But, another aspect to consider is that the farther you go back in researching a person’s history of addresses, the more likely there will be more than one jurisdiction.
Let’s consult a new report that looks at recidivism among inmates released from federal prisons y Bill Keller.
His report states that the single best indicator of whether an ex-offender will become a re-offender is the length and seriousness of the person’s rap sheet. His report also highlights the Bureau of Justice Statistics that state 77 percent of persons with a rearrested within five years. Admittedly, an arrest does not equal a conviction. But, it highlights the prevalence of an individual to engage in “dangerous behavior”.
A summary of things to consider would be the length and seriousness of the person’s rap sheet, how long ago the criminal conviction occurred, the relation of the nature of the criminal conviction and the job duties. Most employers use a 7 year look back of jurisdictional addresses to research. The study would indicate that a 5 year look back could be an option to consider. Keeping in mind our earlier comment about balancing goals and costs, it is our experience reveals that using a 5 year look back results in an average of one and a half jurisdictional searches per person. Using a 7 year look back results in an average of two jurisdictional searches per person.
As always, it is a business best practice to follow guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the agency, some factors to consider when conducting an individualized assessment include: https://www.preemploymentscreen.com/uh-oh-we-found-a-criminal-record/
Additional facts or circumstances surrounding the offense.
· The nature and gravity of the offense.
· The time that has passed since the offense and/or completion of the sentence.
· The nature of the job held or sought.
· Age at the time of the offense or the time of release.
· Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work post-conviction with no known incidents of criminal conduct.
· Employment history before and after the offense.
· Rehabilitation efforts.
· Employment or character references along with any other information regarding fitness for the particular position.