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Importance of Background Screening for Nonprofits: An Updated Briefing

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2008
8 pages
ChoicePoint, a leading provider of background screening services to the nonprofit sector, reports on the findings of a recently updated audit of screenings it completed between 2002 and 2007.
The audit found that of the approximately 3.7 million background screenings completed during the 5-year period, approximately 189,000 individuals with at least 1 criminal conviction attempted to gain employment or volunteer with a nonprofit organization. Just over 2,700 registered sex offenders were identified; 3,900 had committed sex-related crimes; 37,400 had committed drug-related offenses; and 651 had been convicted of murder. For every 100 individuals screened, just over 5 of them were determined to have prior criminal convictions. This percentage was virtually unchanged from a prior ChoicePoint audit conducted in 2005. Although employing a convicted criminal as a staff member or selecting him/her to serve as a volunteer does not mean the organization is necessarily at risk, nonprofit service organizations should develop sound policies for interpreting criminal history results and give attention to recidivism rates for crimes, particularly violent or sex-related crimes. By being continually aware of the risks that individuals can bring to the organizations they represent and developing simple but thorough background screening programs, nonprofit organizations can protect themselves while providing the critical services upon which the most vulnerable members of society depend. 3 figures, 7 notes, and appended listing of the top 10 criminal offenses found in background checks for nonprofit organizations


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