Fight Grows to Stop Expunged Criminal Records Living On in Background Checks

Criminal records live on in some reports even after being expunged from government databases leaving many with difficulties of getting jobs and housing.

News Story (NATIONAL, Pennsylvania)

Joe Palazzolo, Gary Fields
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
May 7, 2015
Link to story

Tags: Benefits of Legal Aid, Expungement / Record Sealing

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia


Ms. Stokes is among an unknown number of applicants for housing and jobs whose criminal records, even after they have been purged from government databases, live on in digital warehouses in the private sector.

There is no national data on how often expunged records are reported by background-check companies, because expunged records by definition no longer exist. But consumer advocates say the number has grown along with the demand for such services by employers and landlords, among others.

The screening companies point to their own research showing that only a tiny fraction of applicants contest the accuracy of their reports each year.