This Chicago Criminal attorney has posted here, here, and here about the impact of mistakes on the accused. The entire system must be challenged when even the “infallible” F.B.I. say “mistakes were made”.
From H.R. 5300:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background Checks Act of 2010'.
SEC. 2. SAFEGUARDS FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS.
The Attorney General shall establish and enforce procedures to ensure the prompt release of accurate records and information exchanged for employment-related purposes through the records system created under section 534 of title 28, United States Code.
SEC. 3. REQUIRED PROCEDURES.
The procedures established under section 2 shall include the following:
(1) INACCURATE RECORD OR INFORMATION- If the Attorney General determines that a record or information is inaccurate, the Attorney General shall promptly correct that record or information or, if appropriate, promptly make any changes or deletions to the records or information.
(2) INCOMPLETE RECORD OR INFORMATION-
(A) If the Attorney General determines that a record or information is incomplete or cannot be verified, the Attorney General shall attempt to complete or verify the record or information, and if the Attorney General is unable to do so, the Attorney General may promptly make any changes or deletions to the record or information.
(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, an incomplete record or information includes a record or information that indicates there was an arrest and does not include the disposition of that arrest.
(C) If the record or information is an incomplete record or information described in subparagraph (B), the Attorney General shall, not later than 10 days after the requesting entity requests the exchange and before the exchange is made, obtain the disposition (if any) of the arrest.
(3) NOTIFICATION OF REPORTING JURISDICTION- The Attorney General shall notify each appropriate reporting jurisdiction of any action taken under paragraph (1) or (2).
(4) OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW RECORDS OR INFORMATION BY APPLICANT- In connection with an exchange of such a record or information, the Attorney General shall--
(A) obtain the consent of the applicant to exchange the record or information with the requesting entity;
(B) at the time of consent, notify the applicant that the applicant can obtain a copy of the record or information;
(C) provide to the applicant an opportunity to obtain a copy of the record or information upon request and to challenge the accuracy and completeness of that record or information;
(D) promptly notify the requesting entity of any such challenge;
(E) not later than 30 days after the challenge is made, complete an investigation of the challenge;
(F) provide to the applicant the specific findings and results of that investigation;
(G) promptly make any changes or deletions to the records or information required as a result of the challenge; and
(H) report those changes to the requesting entity.
From the nytimes.com:
These days it is hard enough to find a job. Far too many Americans miss a chance to get hired because the F.B.I. background checks employers commonly use to screen applicants have incomplete or inaccurate information. A bill introduced by Representative Bobby Scott, a Democrat of Virginia, would fix this problem by requiring the F.B.I. to verify and correct criminal data before issuing the background check for employment purposes.
The problem of flawed reports became clear when Congress required new F.B.I. background checks for about 1.5 million people who work on the nation’s ports after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The goal was a sensible one: to screen out people who presented security risks. A 2009 report from the National Employment Law Project, a workers’ advocacy group, found that the government had mistakenly denied credentials to tens of thousands of workers, partly because of flawed reports.
The most common problem is that the 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.
Perhaps this is the kind of change we can all hope occurs in Congress. This bill should certainly have broad bipartisan support right?