New SEARCH/BJS Reports Published

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SEARCH published two reports in December 2005:

Report of the National Task Force on the Commercial Sale of Criminal Justice Record Information
This report is the first-ever comprehensive look at the role that commercial background screening companies play in the collection, maintenance, sale and dissemination of criminal history record information for employment screening and other important risk management purposes.

SEARCH convened a Task Force to analyze and debate key public policy issues and make the recommendations in this report. The Task Force was comprised of representatives of State central repositories and State identification bureaus; representatives of the FBI; representatives of the courts; leaders of the commercial screening industry; representatives of employers and also of volunteer groups; privacy advocates; and academic experts and researchers.

Part One looks at the growing commercial background screening industry and the type of information, including the type of criminal history information that is collected, compiled, maintained, and sold by commercial screeners. Part Two examines the relevant law under which commercial background screeners can obtain access to criminal history record information held by the courts or by executive branch agencies. This report's legal analysis also focuses on the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and identifies and analyzes the FCRA's numerous privacy protections. Part Three addresses the public policy issues that arise from the commercial sale of criminal history record information.

The report was prepared by SEARCH as a product of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Report of the National Focus Group on Identity Theft Victimization and Criminal Record Repository Operations
In March 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, and SEARCH convened the Identity Theft Victimization and Criminal Record Repository Operations Focus Group in Columbus, Ohio. The Focus Group was convened in recognition of the burgeoning national problem of identity theft, as it affects criminal history records, and creates a conflict for State criminal history record repository officials as they try to balance the concerns and interests of identity theft victims with the need to maintain and disseminate records that accurately reflect arrest information as recorded at the time of booking. The Focus Group examined and deliberated upon the statutory approaches taken by 13 states toward criminal identity theft. It also reviewed publications on the topic produced by the Federal Trade Commission and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and heard a report on the FBI's new National Crime Information Center Identity Theft File. This report summarizes the Focus Group's discussions regarding the issue of criminal identity theft, and sets out its conclusions and recommendations.

SEARCH Members contributing to the effort were Mr. Barry LaCroix (MA), Mr. Mike Lesko (TX), Prof. Kent Markus (At-Large), Mr. John E. Monce Jr. (OH), Ms. Liane Moriyama (HI), and Ms. Donna Uzzell (FL). Other participants represented BJS, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Defense, legal services in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the Supreme Court of Ohio.