“We have found no evidence that police record checks are useful workplace screening tools for employers or volunteer organizations.”
In fact, the available research suggests that a prior criminal conviction is not correlated with an increased likelihood to commit a subsequent work-related offence. What is clear is that there is significant individual and societal cost associated with widespread, unnecessary police record checks.
On a personal level, individuals who have paid their debt to society find that they are facing years of social and economic exclusion due to the stigma of a criminal record. Those with non-conviction records are being excluded from school, denied employment and isolated from their communities on the basis of 911 calls and unproven allegations.
On a societal level, placing increased and unnecessary barriers in front of individuals who are seeking employment, education or volunteer experience is counterproductive. For those who have committed a crime, employment – along with the social networks and economic stability that work provides – increases the likelihood of successful rehabilitation and reintegration.
Police services are also impacted, as they divert policing resources to satisfy an ever-growing demand for record checks. The financial cost of maintaining this system is ultimately borne by all of us: the unemployed, students, volunteers, community members, businesses and government are all shouldering the costs of performing these record checks.