designed to improve the accuracy of criminal history records, commonly called a rap sheet, that are frequently used in determining the eligibility of a person for employment, housing, credit, and licensing, in addition to law enforcement purposes. The act imposes duties on governmental law enforcement agencies and courts that collect, store and use criminal history records, to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the rap sheet. The act provides individuals the right to see and correct errors in their rap sheet. Through use of a mistaken identity prevention registry, the act also provides a mechanism by which an individual whose name is similar to and confused with a person who is the subject of criminal-history-record information, a means to minimize the possibility of a false arrest or denial of housing, employment, credit, or other opportunities.
CDIA was an official observer to this process. CDIA supports uniformity and consistency in public records at their source, meaning in the courthouses and the law enforcement offices. Accuracy and consistency of records – especially at their creation — help everyone. This model bill, which been introduced in just a handful of states, can help the public, which relies on reliable court records, get off to a good start.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More