Violent Sex Offenders Re-Evaluated

Monday, August 31, 2009

The discovery of Jaycee Dugard, the woman who was abducted when she was 11 from a bus stop in Lake Tahoe, NV, has raised many questions about the monitoring and sentencing of men like the one who kidnapped her, Phillip Garrido. Garrido was a convicted, violent sex offender at the time of Dugard's abduction. On parole, officers visited the Garrido home on several occasions and never discovered Dugard and her children living in the backyard. A neighbor even alerted the police that children were there. Police knocked on the front door, but never searched the home or yard.

Many experts believe violent sex offenders can never be rehabilitated and that the likelihood of them offending again is so high that there should be different standards to which they are held. Garrido's first documented offense in 1976 involved an elaborate hideout in Reno, NV where he assaulted a woman for hours after handcuffing and binding her with a leather strap.

Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but was released after just 10 on parole. Recent laws have made sentences tougher, violent offender's mandatory sentencing was raised from just 5 years to 35. However, advocates of tougher laws are pushing imprisonment and then treatment "for as long as it takes to rehabilitate" the violent offenders. And in some cases, they will never be rehabilitated, which mean, simply, they would never be released.



Nightclub Workers in China to be DNA Tested

Friday, August 28, 2009

In a strange move nightclub workers are now subject to DNA testing in China. The Chinese government claims the DNA will help recover, identify, and trace victims of crime and kidnapping.

In addition to DNA testing, employees are required to provide fingerprints, photographs and writing samples to ensure employees don't have a criminal background.

"After the DNA collections, those without criminal records will be issued certificates for working in such venues," Long Shijun, deputy director of the local police station said justifying the move. The purpose is to improve surveillance of entertainment venues long considered a hotbed of crimes, he said.

"The records, which greatly help police identify suspects, will be sent directly to the city's comprehensive DNA database, to ensure the records will not be leaked," Long said.

Rightfully so, many are upset by the blatant disregard for privacy rights and the targeting of a specific sector of the population to anticipate crimes they might commit.


Mexico Replaces all Border Agents

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 17 --

700 customs agents who work at borders across Mexico have been completely replaced in an effort to stamp out drug smuggling and corruption. More than 1,400 new agents were dispatched to 49 customs points near borders and at airports.

The major difference between these agents and the last? They have all undergone background checks to ensure they have no criminal records.

The new agents, more than 70 per cent of whom are university educated, were chosen in a "strict selection process that included psychological and toxicological checks, as well as the necessary investigations to ensure they have no criminal record", the tax administration said in a statement.

The 700 agents who were replaced – fewer than 10 per cent of whom have university degrees - would not be banned from reapplying for their jobs, but would have to meet the new, stricter requirements.


Drug Testing can Increase Profitability

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It is estimated that there are over 14 million drug users in the United States. 75% are thought to be in the workforce.

Statistically, employees who are frequently absent, who are involved in more work related accidents, those who make more compensation claims, have poor production, or who steal cost more to employ than those who don't. Being a drug users raises the probability of exhibition of all these behaviors.

Drug users cost more to employ.

When compared to employees without a diagnosed substance abuse problem, alcohol abusers are 2 times as likely, drug abusers are 3 times as likely, and alcohol –and-drug abusers are 4 times as likely - - - to be hospitalized for an injury

35% of employees have seen / heard of drug use on their current job.

Implementing a pre-employment drug screening program or a random program if you already have the pre-employment are effective ways to curb drug abuse, to weed out those who are using, and to discourage drug use in the workplace. It will raise your production, and your profitability.


Social Networks and Your Company

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The recent popularity of websites like Myspace and Facebook have offered a whole new way of looking at job applicants and current employees. Many employers actually use these websites as a way of vetting their candidates. Looking at an applicant's profile on Facebook can be more revealing than peering at their resume. But what are the employer's obligations to the employee? Are there any rules about the practice of snooping on public sites to make hiring decisions?

Peopleclick, a recruitment company in Raleigh, NC, understood the confusion facing employers practicing these tactics and released a free eBook, Social Networks and Employment Law. To receive your electronic copy, go here.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer an excess of information about job seekers applying for any open requisition in the marketplace today,” said Dr. Lisa Harpe, PhD, Sr. Consultant and Industrial Organizational Psychologist at the Peopleclick Research Institute. “The novelty around these sites overshadows the fact that using these technologies for recruiting and hiring carries with it many legal obligations. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the laws and regulations behind using these sites in the talent acquisition process as employers utilize these networks to consider individuals for employment, verify employment data, evaluate qualifications or use an applicant’s leisure activities as a basis for making hiring decisions. All methods used to make employment decisions are considered selection procedures and subject to anti-discrimination regulations.”


New Hampshire Representative Seeks Looser Laws for Sex Offenders

Monday, August 24, 2009

Charged with two felonies, the 20 year old son of New Hampshire state Representative Jennifer Brown, plead his crimes down to misdemeanors and registered as a sex offender. His attempts to lure a 14 year old girl to a meeting place to have sex were recorded by undercover police officers.

Brown connected with the girl in an Internet chat room. When she agreed to meet him, he drove to the designated spot, waited for a few minutes and left. He was arrested on felony charges, attempted 2nd degree assault and the misdemeanor offense of attempted sexual assault.

He received suspended sentence and was required to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

His state representative mother has now introduced a bill that would remove her son's name from the list of registered sex offenders.

"He didn't meet anyone," Brown said. "He got there, turned around and left so fast. . . . He went to the meeting, then said, 'I'm just leaving,' and that's what our state calls a criminal. What happens when you're young derails your career," Brown went on, "You have none. Being on the list is an onerous responsibility."

Brown's proposed change would exempt Tier 1 sex offenders, which includes only those convicted of misdemeanors, from the public list. Those who were exempted would still need to register on a private list with the police department. A Tier 1 sex offender can currently petition to come off the public list five years after he or she completes his or her sentence.

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union has given their support to the bill. "To put all individuals who have committed an offense in a very broad category in the same pot is absurd," said Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

But state law enforcement are in stiff opposition. Federal funding could be jeopardized if the bill passes. Also, the law enforcement community is adamant that the Tier 1 offenders are more dangerous than the bill allows. Offenses listed under Tier 1 offenders include:

  • Sexual contact with a person age 13 to 18 under aggravating circumstances, which could include using physical force, touching a victim who is physically unable to resist, or coercion by a person in authority.
  • Sexual contact with a person aged 13 to 15, with an age difference of five years or more.
  • Sexual penetration with a person who is incarcerated, on probation or parole by a person in a position of authority.
  • Violation of privacy, including sending out photographs or recordings of private body parts.
  • A second or subsequent incident of indecent exposure.
  • Sexual penetration or contact in the presence of a child.

Tom Reid, deputy county attorney said, "A defendant who could be any age overcomes a victim through application of physical force or violence, holds a person down and grabs their sexual parts . . . that's a Tier 1 sex offender who the bill would exempt." Reid said. "You could have a 60-year-old man who fondles a 13-year-old child for sexual gratification. This bill would exempt that person."



Immigrant Activists Angered by E-Verify Program

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out 652 letters to businesses around the US informing them they would be subject to an audit ensuring they are following federal hiring procedures by enforcing a no tolerance policy for employing illegal immigrants.

The letters sparked massive layoffs of undocumented workers by large companies such as American Apparel and Overhill Farms. L.A. activists said this particular measure has swollen the ranks of the unemployed in the midst of the economic crisis.

However, the candidates that were laid off received a "no match" letter when put through the E-Verify program. Candidates were then provided a large window, 30 - 60 days, to receive proper documentation in order to save their jobs. If they cannot provide the documentation within that time frame, they will be unemployed.

Much of these actions angers immigration activists:

In an open letter posted on the website of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, workers fired from American Apparel, Overhill Farms and Farmer John’s wrote:

This is clearly the fault of the Obama Administration and only he has the solution in his hands to stop the cheap scapegoating and racial profiling of immigrants that is now sweeping America. This is certainly not the change we voted for, and not the immigration reform promised by President Barack Obama."

Activists argue that targeting employers does not create real reform, though the traditional method of border patrol and deportation has not proved successful. It might take a few years of American businesses being targeted before real reform can take hold.


Job Scams: Background Checks

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In the current economic climate, the heat is turned up for those seeking jobs. As always, that means those seeking to take advantage are out of the woodwork.

"More families are becoming increasingly susceptible to suspect offers for employment as they try to find work in an extremely competitive job market,” said Mike Boynton, an Atlanta spokesman for the Better Business Bureau.

Job offers don't require an upfront fee. Ads were placed by a Florida company claiming it was looking to hire 2,500 employees for their new headquarters. Applicants had to submit $24 to pay for a background check.

Job placement or recruitment companies don't typically charge for services either. Some job placement companies, however, have been taking money from job hunters and not fulfilling their promises of quick employment.

Legitimate employers will need Social Security numbers for tax purposes and may need a bank account number to deposit paychecks for new employees. But job hunters should be wary of any requests for such information from companies and job offers that they have not vetted fully.


Applying for Job? Have Winning References

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rest assured that when you apply for a job, your employment history and references will be checked. The greater the opportunity, the deeper the investigation. A good job at a visible company will scrutinize every detail of your application and history.

Including professional references for jobs such as these is an important part of the applications process. You need to be sure that the references your potential employer contacts will seal the deal for you, not make your case tougher.

Your references should be the highest quality you can provide. Here are some tips to picking and maintaining a good person for your reference,

  • Keep your records up to date. Keeping up to speed with your references job title, phone number and position in the company is important. If you provide old information, the potential employer WILL find out and it will look like you haven't been in contact with the person for years.
  • Maintain a relationship with your reference, for the same reasons stated above. Also, it will help your reference keep up their opinion of you if you keep in contact. Using sites like LinkedIn can be very useful for this.
  • Advise your reference about important opportunities. You don't want to bother them with every offer that comes your way, but really important opportunities merit a heads up. Let them know what the company is looking for, hopefully it will brighten their reference.


Bad Credit Makes for Terrible Prospects

Monday, August 17, 2009

While the economy is impacting everybody, there are some that are being dealt heavier blows than others. While struggling to pay overwhelming mortgage notes and all the bills that come in on a monthly basis, those hunting for jobs may find may doors shut on them due to bad credit, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

While there are no clear indicators that bad credit necessarily means you are not suited for the job, employers tend to overuse the credit report when making crucial hiring decisions. Unless the applicant will be handling money (cashiers, accountants, etc.) the credit report really has no bearing on the applicants ability.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state credit laws help to regulate how an employer can obtain and use their findings. An employer must gain your consent in writing to do a credit check and the report they receive is different than one viewed by a credit agency or an individual. Full account numbers are not revealed and they won’t see a credit score, but they will be able to see late payments, collections and bankruptcies. If you are actually denied employment because of your credit report, the company must notify you so that you may view the report on which the decision was based.

In the meantime, a House bill introduced last month would prohibit employers from using credit report details for their hiring decisions. The Equal Employment for All Act, if passed, will keep credit worthiness (with some exceptions for financial firms and government agencies) out of the employment process so that getting credit at work will make it more about performance than payments.


Police Officer Tries to Run a Background Check on Obama

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Philadelphia police officer decided to abuse his privileges when he attempted to run an illegal background check on our president, Barack Obama.

Sgt. Ray Evers took to his computer on August 12 and proceeded to enter Obama into the database search for criminal information. The Secret Service were immediately alerted, as they are anytime a background check on Obama is processed, and they immediately contacted the Philadelphia police department.

It is unknown at this time what will happen to Ray Evers.


Cities Need Background Checks, Too

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The city of Brownsville, TX is under fire by its citizens for mishandling city funds. The move to bring in large concerts has uncovered weaknesses in the cities budget planners including loosely drawn agreements and contracts has led the citizens of Brownsville to question their officials capabilities.

Among their largest concerns are the vendors the city chooses to do business with. Brownsville residents are considering requiring that the city perform background checks on the vendors before awarding contracts.

Not a bad idea. It's not hard to process a background check, and hard earned money it could save far outweighs the cost of such a test. The only lingering questions remain, if it is a large corporate vendor, how does the check get processed? Is the check done on the company itself (something that should be investigated prior to signing any contract) or on the individual who owns the company?


Back To School: Avoid Simple Mistakes & Keep Your Record Clear

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

As we mentioned last week, bad credit can be a big deal. Not only does it prevent you from getting those much needed loans for school, but when you've finally completed school and graduated, your job opportunities will be slim as a result.

So, it's very important to either not get a credit card or keep yourself to one card only. Credit companies love college students. Most students have a balance of over $3,000 and will graduate with a significant amount of high-interest debt. Watch how much you put on the card and be sure to pay your monthly dues, you'll need a job to help pay the balance!

Don't be enticed to spend any "leftover" money from student loans. The money isn't really leftover. You are already racking up interest you will have to pay back.

Just paying careful attention to the amount of debt you accumulate and of course, paying it back, will yeild postive results for you and your future!


Home Care Nurse takes Advantage of Elder

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michelle Stokes hired Lora Huffine to care for her ailing 93 year old mother. Michelle conducted an interview with Huffine, but decided against running a background check. "All I went on was that she had 24 years of care," Stokes said.

Huffine was found guilty of cashing a check that was sent to the Stokes' household for over $3,000. This wasn't her first offense. A background check would have told Stokes that Huffine pleaded guilty to four counts of a six-count indictment, all fifth-degree felonies of forgery, according to court records. Another forgery case against Huffine in 2000 in Delaware County was dismissed.


Shoplifters Want to Clean Up

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shoplifters in Buffalo, New York have a new opportunity to clean up their record. They can now participate in a special rehabilitation program, The Stop Shoplifting Education Program.

Completing the 3 hour class, in conjunction with 25 hours of community service can walk away with no record of their conviction. According to in-house analysis backed up by researchers from the University at Buffalo, those who complete the course are 50 percent less likely to commit another criminal act than those who do not.

In a survey by Retail Industry Leaders Association, 61% of retail business owners reported an increase in shoplifting since the beginning of this year, and a huge 725 have seen an increase in "organized retail crime" — people who steal larger amounts of goods or larger-ticket items to sell for cash.

The economy is a good excuse, people with far less money and jobs available to them are taking matters into their owns hands. Sometimes even getting back at the business they feel are responsible. However, shoplifting is not a victimless crime, something the program emphasizes.

Shoplifting raises the cost of goods substantially, perpetuating the problem further.


Illinois Children are a Little Safer

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It only seems natural that sex offenders would be banned from operating ice cream trucks, but until recently, in Illinois, they had every right. But a new law bars sex offenders from operating trucks or vehicles that sell food or beverage.

The law was signed into being on Tuesday by Governor Pat Quinn.

The move is good for the children. Many states around the nation already have protections in place. And they don't just stop at sex offenders either, they require background checks to obtain the license in the first place.


Why do Background Checks?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

There was a murderer in a Florida middle school for 3 years, undetected.

Curtis McRae, a 59-year-old school custodian, never tried to hide that he'd served about 15 years behind bars for killing a liquor store manager in the 1970s in a $100 robbery gone wrong. He wrote it on his school district application.

Under Florida law, McRae should have never been hired, but a recent investigation showed that he had inside help, someone pulling strings for him.

Jacqueline Clervan-Harrell "basically circumvented the process for him to come on board," said Darron Davis, Chief of Human Resources. She was also listed as a reference on his application.

Once discovered, McRae was found to have an extensive record, including the murder charges as well as a rape charge. His extensive criminal history ends with a final arrest in 1999.


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