Database vs. Jurisdictional Screening

Not all background checks are created equal…

The multi-jurisdictional database can be a very important tool when it comes to your background screening process as it widens the scope of your search. This database compiles information from a variety of different jurisdictional sources—this can include county courthouses, state sex offender registries, federal security agencies, and so on.

There are over 4,000 courts in the United States and only one third of them contribute to this database—the biggest limitation and most important when it comes to this search is incomplete data. This could be due to the fact that not all state/county courts sell records, not all records are computerized, not all records are available, and so on.

The multi-jurisdictional can unveil a bigger picture of your applicant’s criminal history than a conventional search, which is not the issue. The question is, what would you miss if you only ran a database search, and at what cost are you paying with this ‘instant’ search?

  1. Accuracy related to record due to limited identifiers, like driver’s licenses, middle names, dates of birth, etc. This makes it easy to miss a record or tie it to a candidate who it doesn’t belong to.

  2. Records found in remaining courts that do not have records within the multi-jurisdictional database due to not sharing their information or not having records indexed in a format searchable.

  3. Records that are potentially outdated, dismissed, or sealed by the court that have not been updated within the multi-jurisdictional database. Reporting these can open the door to multiple lawsuits due to net being verified and searched on the source level.

This is why all “hits” must be verified by running a county criminal search, as these records are current and will include updated information regarding any changes in status (warrants, probation violations, expunged/dismissed charges, etc.).

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