skip to content

Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

The Use of CHAIRS Reports as Criminal Background Checks (Center for Community Alternatives)

  • Organization: Center for Community Alternatives
  • Author: at
  • Document Type: Report
  • Date Created: Friday, April 22, 2011
  • Submitted: Friday, April 22, 2011
  • Attachment(s): LINK

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department has long been promoting the use of the "CHAIRS" report as a "criminal background" record. In Onondaga County, use of these reports has become ubiquitous, and many employers, volunteer organizations, and landlords use the CHAIRS reports to screen applicants for jobs, volunteer opportunities, and housing. The CHAIRS report, however, does not contain complete information about a person's criminal history. Rather, it contains only a list of a person's arrests in Onondaga County without any information about whether or not the arrest actually resulted in a criminal conviction.

Center for Community Alternatives conducted a study for The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse to evaluate the types and frequency of mistakes that occur on the CHAIRS reports. CCA's study reveals that a significant majority of CHAIRS reports includes information about one or more arrests that is protected from disclosure by New York's sealing statutes, Human Rights Law, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net