NY Times Endorses Scott Bill On Incomplete, Inaccurate FBI Data


Too many Americans miss a chance to get hired because the FBI background checks employers commonly use to screen applicants have incomplete or inaccurate information, editorializes the New York Times. A bill introduced by Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) would require the FBI to verify and correct criminal data before issuing the background check for employment purposes. The Times says that would improve the employment prospects of the nearly 50 million people with arrest or conviction records.

Many records fail to include the final disposition of a case. For example, they may show that the person was arrested but not that the charges were dismissed or that there was no prosecution or conviction. Scott would require the FBI to track down any missing data before issuing a report. That is what happens for background checks for gun purchasers under the Brady gun control law. In compliance with existing regulations, the bill would also require that “nonserious” offenses like loitering be excluded from the background report. It would exclude reporting on an arrest more than a year old that does not include a disposition, unless it is being actively prosecuted.

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