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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

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Folder: Main Menu > Criminal Records > Background Checks: Know Your Rights

When a person has been arrested and fingerprinted, the record of this arrest and the disposition - the final outcome of the case - is kept in different forms by different but sometimes related agencies. In turn, the availability of records varies by agency. While the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is the official repository of criminal history information for New York State, employers performing a background check on an individual may rely on court records maintained by the Office of Court Administration (OCA), the FBI, or by private creditor reporting agencies.

The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is the official repository of criminal records in New York State. These are the records used by law enforcement and available to government agencies, but not to the public. Everyone is entitled to a free copy of his or her OWN DCJS record. See the Correcting Errors in Rap Sheets and Record Sealing for more resources.
The Office of Court Administration (OCA) also retains records at the criminal court level, which they call a Criminal History Record Search. These records are publicly available for a fee of $52 each. In most cases, these are the records that employers rely on when they do criminal background checks, because these are the records that Credit Reporting Agencies use to produce background reports. Individuals are NOT entitled to free copies of their own records, but those who want to pay for a copy may do so through the OCA website.

» Criminal Record Errors & Restoration of Rights - NY Email Group for advocates in New York State helping individuals obtain copies of their rap sheets, review and correct errors, and obtain Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct. Click here for more information.
» For more employment-specific information, click here for's employment folder. 


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