Jul 25, 2013 Quinn Thomas
Across Indiana, two new developments regarding the access and presence of public court records may change the way in which pre-employment screening is conducted.
According to The Background Investigator, a statewide program to allow for streamlined access to public records is in its final stage of implementation. With the new systems, citizens will be able to scan a comprehensive database of court records that will be searchable by case number, attorney, court or even date.
It should allow Indiana businesses to easily investigate the criminal histories of job applicants. The source reported that 46 of the 92 counties in the state have already launched the system in some manner.
In Porter County, the new setup has been welcomed, the source noted. With 23 separate systems in place to digitally organize and file documents, the innovative Odyssey Case Management System will eliminate the need to continue using the numerous databases, as the service will combine all the files into a single platform. By September, the county will have all criminal and civil court documents housed on Odyssey.
Although the system should simplify the background investigation process, a new law that recently went into effect in Indiana will make it more challenging for business leaders to conduct comprehensive screens. WFIE-TV stated that a new criminal records law will allow some felons and misdemeanor offenders to have their records cleared once a certain time period has passed after conviction.
The source noted that some expunged records will be automatic, while others will require approval from prosecutors and judges. Regardless, it could create a legal challenge for business leaders looking to screen job candidates. Since some criminal records will be eliminated, factoring them into a screening process may be illegal. For this reason, business in Indiana would be well advised to use the services of a professional background screening company.