Should Criminal Record Checks Be Standard for Applications?

Most jobs these days require crim­i­nal records checks as well as cred­it checks. Still, there are a great many jobs out there that allow you to be hired with­out your back­ground being checked. If this is a per­son­al­ly owned busi­ness, then most peo­ple have the atti­tude that the own­er has the choice. That is the “Amer­i­can Way” and the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple would not argue that point. Each busi­ness own­er has the right to choose their own hir­ing process­es.

When this becomes a prob­lem is when the busi­ness deals with chil­dren, or oth­er­wise puts peo­ple at risk. For exam­ple, the vast major­i­ty of per­son­al­ly owned day cares have no crim­i­nal records checks. I know this from per­son­al expe­ri­ence in the past. How is it pos­si­ble that day cares can hire out any­one with­out even check­ing to see if they have a crim­i­nal record. What if they are a sex­u­al preda­tor? There have also been a num­ber of times in the news where a teacher, cler­gy­man, hos­pi­tal work­er or oth­er per­son of pow­er was hired with no crim­i­nal record check being done. The cost of this lack of fore­sight can be hor­rif­ic.

Have we now come to a time in our his­to­ry where we need to enforce this as a stan­dard? I am all for free­dom and all the things that we love about Amer­i­ca, and Lord knows we do not need more gov­ern­ment over­sight. Still, I do not under­stand how we can allow these folks to hire peo­ple that hurt our chil­dren and in some cas­es, the elder­ly. While these are the most vul­ner­a­ble vic­tims, it seems that nobody is doing much to pro­tect their inter­ests if we are allow­ing crim­i­nals to work in places where they can take advan­tage of them.

The first argu­ment I usu­al­ly hear about this is that their are lev­els of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty. Cer­tain­ly a per­son that smoked a joint and got caught when they were a teenag­er and that has been clean since is not the same as a sex­u­al preda­tor or oth­er­wise dan­ger­ous crim­i­nal. There has to be a way to account for this in a way that will pre­vent peo­ple that are true crim­i­nals from get­ting access to a chil­dren and loved ones. We have han­dled prob­lems far larg­er than this with suc­cess.

For the peo­ple who think that this infringes on our rights of free­dom, maybe you should sit down and take a look at the thou­sands of chil­dren who are harmed in this way due to lax poli­cies in this area. While it is true that sex­u­al preda­tors will find a way to com­mit crimes, it still does not mean we should open the door and hold it for the crim­i­nals.