Dec 22 2015 What’s Involved with a Sex Offender Registry Search?
Do you know who’s spent time in jail?
Checking the background of your employees is often crucial to the health and safety of your business. But for some roles in particular, checking the sex offender registries can help you find and eliminate unsuitable employees and better protect both your customers and your business. Many, though, find themselves unsure of where to start. Here’s what’s involved in a sex offender registry search.
Who Is On The Registry?
Who is on the registry depends on the court. For a person to be entered on the registry, they have to be convicted by or plead guilty in a court that registers sex offenders for an offense that merits being added to the registry. It’s worth noting that it depends on the court, not where the offense was committed; if a crime that a federal court would register is tried in a court that doesn’t register, then that person won’t be entered into the registry.
Similarly, hiring managers should know that a person is entered into the registry regardless of the overall sentence. Even if a person’s sentence is commuted or they’re given probation, they may still be registered depending on the laws of their state and county. In some cases, sentences that are vacated may still have those convicted in the state’s registry. Even if an offender dies, they may still be on the registry!
How Reliable Is The Sex Offender Registry?
Despite the name, not everyone convicted of sexual crimes ends up on the registry. Who’s added to the registry, and why, depends heavily on state law and what offenders are deemed necessary to register. Depending on the situation, a felony in one county is a misdemeanor in the next one, so an individual committing the same crime in both cases would only be on the registry for one of those offenses. Some states even require offenders of certain non-sexual crimes to register.
In addition, the online registries themselves offer varying amounts of data. Some will offer detailed information about the offense; others will simply state a person is registered and tell you little beyond that. If that weren’t enough, each state runs a different type of database; some screen offenders and only list those with the potential to reoffend, while others list regardless of offense committed.
Knowing the past of your applicants is key to knowing their future with your company.
Why Should I Run A Sex Offender Registry Search?
A registry search is best paired with a detailed background check to better understand the nature of the offense. Unfortunately, entry in the registry alone isn’t as informative as it should be for hiring purposes; as we noted above, sometimes non-sexual offenses get people on the registry. A background check will tell you both what happened and how to make a more informed hiring decision.
As for running the check itself, it’s important not least because you’re responsible, under the law, for the employees you hire. Failure to check the background of employees thoroughly for potential problems, including past sex crimes, can put your customers at risk and expose you to liability in the form of a negligent hiring lawsuit. Similarly, if there’s an arrest but no charges, it’s worth knowing about … and won’t turn up on a sex offender registry.
In short, a registry search is for the safety of everyone: Your employees, your customers, and your business. If you’re ready to ensure you’re hiring the right team, request a free background check trial and we’ll help you construct the best background check system.