Juvenile records are sealed, right? That’s what many people believe, but an attorney for the Juvenile Law Center says this is a huge misconception...
Riya Saha Shah says not only are these records not kept confidential, but most are not destroyed after a child or young adult has completed their sentence. That means those records are out there, and the mistakes made as a child or teenager are costing people jobs, college admissions and even the chance to serve in the military.
The Juvenile Law Center created a report card for states that shows that the majority fail terribly in protecting these records. They are also all over the map when it comes to protocol. Some states expunge the records when the child turns 18; others wait until 21, or until five years after the offense. It’s no wonder young adults are surprised when something comes back on a background check.
At EBI, if the case is sealed, we will not see it in a database search and the researcher will not see it at the courthouse. If our researcher is able to get the information through the normal search process, it’s considered public information. When a juvenile record is provided to us, we report it to the client.
It’s important to remember that it is ultimately up to the employer to look at the juvenile offense and decide if it should impact their hiring decision. Applicants with juvenile records have the same legal protections as those who committed their offenses as adults.
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