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Authorized employers use information from FBI criminal history record checks to assess a person’s suitability for employment or to obtain a license. States create criminal records and the FBI facilitates access to these records by other states for nationwide checks. GAO was asked to assess efforts to address concerns about incomplete records, among other things.

This report addresses to what extent (1) states conduct FBI record checks for selected employment sectors and face any challenges; (2) states have improved the completeness of records, and remaining challenges that federal agencies can help mitigate; and (3) private companies conduct criminal record checks, the benefits those checks provide to employers, and any related challenges.

GAO analyzed laws and regulations used to conduct criminal record checks and assessed the completeness of records; conducted a nationwide survey, which generated responses from 47 states and the District of Columbia; and interviewed officials that manage checks from the FBI and 4 states (California, Florida, Idaho, and Washington). GAO selected states based on geographic location and other factors.


Suggested Citation
Maurer, D. C. (2015). Criminal history records: Additional actions could enhance the completeness of records used for employment-related background checks. Washington, DC: Government Accountability Office.