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Why Sex Offender Registries are a Crucial Piece of Criminal Data Searches

By Tessera Data

Sex offender registries (SOR) are essential for public safety purposes and comprehensive background screenings. They are also key in establishing a level of trust and safety for your customer’s business. Unfortunately, gaining access to them can be a challenge.

Finding Sex Offender Registries

Megan’s Law has encouraged all states to have sex offender registries and make them available to the public. While sex offender registry information is public, actually trying to find and access this information can be quite inconvenient.

Oftentimes, individuals must go to their local police station and complete an information request form. Some states maintain websites, but those are often limited in functionality and are not always reliable. A little under half of states in the US do not require all the offender’s information to be publicly released, so the data can be inconclusive.

According to an Englewood judge, “few sex offenders are incarcerated for life, so most will at some point return to the community.” In some states, sex offenders are legally prohibited from passing out candy or dressing up for Halloween.

Now, the difficult decision is for businesses to determine whether or not it’s safe for sex offenders to work for their company.

Using Sex Offender Registries for Employment Purposes

SafeHome.org reported a 24% increase in the number of registered sex offenders since 2019 to now equate to more than 780,000 individuals.

With the number of sex offenders increasing, it is crucial for background screening companies to discover comprehensive data that includes sex offender registry information to uncover valuable information about a job candidate.

The inevitable follow-up question is “Can employers hire a registered sex offender?”

While there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question, there are a sequence of steps to help reduce human bias. Each state has its own laws regarding the use of sex offender registries, so it is important for you to check the state laws to have a better understanding of specific SOR use cases.

California, for example, is one of the few states that prohibit employers from using sex offender registry data for employment decisions. However, there are exceptions for businesses that provide services to children, provide health care services, employees who are in direct contact with the public, and other public-facing roles.

Businesses searching for candidates to fill positions in the following industries have a higher liability rates if they do not perform sex offender registry searches:

  • Education
    • Daycare
  • Public Facing Health Care Services
    • Disability Care Services
    • In-Home Care Services
  • Recreation Positions
    • Coaching
  • Management Positions
    • Legal
    • Financial
    • Communications

Real-time SOR Data vs. SOR Databases

When it comes to sex offender records, there are certain benefits of using a database versus real-time data, and vice versa.

Database Sex Offender Registry Data

Database sex offender registries are not updated in real-time, so the records are not the most up-to-date records available. However, they can be the breadcrumbs that lead CRAs to the information they need to make a conclusive decision.

Databases can hold sex offender registry records that are no longer available publicly, which can still hold value for the companies in their hiring decision making process.

Real-Time Sex Offender Registry Data

Real-time searches offer more updated, complete sex offender records. Getting sex offender records straight from the courts reduces the risk of unreliable or dated information. Through automation, Tessera can deliver sex offender records in less than five minutes.

Help Mitigate Risk with Tessera Data’s Comprehensive Products

Using sex offender records for hiring purposes can be a slippery slope in certain states, which is why including violent, murder, and drug offense registries in your searches can be invaluable. Provide more complete and accurate records by using Tessera Data’s extensive line of risk mitigation and management solutions.

Tessera offers both instant and real-time data searches for sex offender registry records. The Tessera criminal database provides the pointer information to find specific records, while the automated criminal searches retrieve real-time data directly from the courts.

Learn more about how Tessera’s products can help you mitigate risk.

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