Indiana Background Checks: Is Inkless System Wise Choice for Schools?

indiana background checksWell, let’s take a quick look at the process and you can decide if the Access Indiana Inkless System is a wise background screening choice for schools.  In July of 2009, the Indiana legislature passed an Expanded Criminal History (ECH) statute which defined how schools must conduct criminal background checks. Indiana background checks have been a lightning rod for the state since the Indianapolis Star and WTHR Channel 13 exposed the gross deficiencies with the state's limited criminal history check.  The investigative report found that many county clerks were not sending their criminal records to the state which allowed convicted sex offenders to slip through the cracks.

The ECH statute gives Indiana schools two options for conducting criminal background checks:

  1. National Sex Offender Registry and a Search of All Counties of Residence; or
  2. State’s Inkless System.

Prior to the ECH requirement, a majority of large school districts in Indiana were already partnering with Safe Hiring Solutions and conducting comprehensive national criminal background checks that included:

  • Social Security Verification
  • National Criminal Database Search
  • National Sex Offender Registry Search
  • County Criminal Searches
  • Indiana Participating Courts Search

So the new law did not require them to make any changes.  The package we offer is more comprehensive than the ECH requirements.

However, some schools have opted to use the Inkless process for their Indiana Background Check.  And what does that look like?  The Inkless system is a fingerprint process that checks against the state criminal repository and then against the NCIC database.

Well, what are the big differences between the two methods:

  • Cost.  Inkless is around $43 and SHS is $28
  • Turnaround Time.  Inkless can take weeks and requires each applicant to drive to a collection site to be fingerprinted.  SHS can be entered into our system and completed in 2-3 business days.
  • Criminal Data.  Inkless is a felony search that checks against the 19 crimes that exclude an applicant from being employed with an Indiana School district.  SHS reports all misdemeanor and felonies.
  • Report:  Inkless process does not provide a criminal history report but a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” from the Indiana State Police.  SHS provides a comprehensive criminal background screening report with all reportable records.

That additional cost and slower turnaround time are certainly significant issues.  However, I think from an employers perspective the three things that would frighten me the most are:

  • Not Being Able to See the Report.  If I don’t seen the report but receive a thumbs down then I am making an adverse employment decision based unknown criminal acts.
  • Only Felony Records.  Are DUI’s important?  Is a person convicted of battery, domestic violence, possession of drugs or theft somebody a school would employ?
  • Restricts the Hiring Process:  What does that mean?  The hiring process starts with a thorough application that is signed by the applicant.  Criminal background screening reports should be compared against the application.  If an applicant indicated on an application that they had never been convicted of a crime but it was revealed they had a misdemeanor conviction for public intoxication, then this could be significant.  Not because public intoxication is a high crime but because the applicant lied and dishonesty is always grounds for denying employment.  Inkless will not give you this opportunity for comparison.

The bottom line is the Inkless system is slow, expensive and does not provide enough data or transparency to keep our schools safe.

Contact Safe Hiring Solutions for more information on Expanded Criminal History Checks.