Background Checks and Jurors

Tue, November 15th, 2011 - 5:36 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Jury duty is a funny thing.  Some people love it and feel they are fulfilling a public service.  Other folks will do whatever they can to avoid it.   And then some claim it is really not fair to haul someone out of work, someone who is not receiving compensation for jury duty, while there are so many others out there who are retired, out of work, or otherwise in ready supply.

And since there are so many prospective jurors out there, especially in the larger cities, it is a wonder that we sometimes get the jurors we have.  There are some very astute jurors and some who have a tough time spelling DNA. Yet in Chicago, an article in the Tribune, there seems to be a situation where some of the jurors had prior felonies.  Some jurors concealed their previous criminal records.   A little off puting when the alleged”peers” are deciding someone is guilty or innocent.

Some Illinois counties do perform background checks on prospective jurors.  According to the Tribune article…”Such background checks have been common in Cook County criminal courtrooms for decades, but it’s unclear how often they are performed at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. Though jurors were vetted in both Blagojevich trials, there have been a handful of other high-profile cases in which they were not, several defense attorneys said.”

According to the article…”Felons can serve on federal juries in Illinois if their rights have been restored, but they often are dismissed from the jury pool because of their criminal histories. In the end, that the Cellini juror apparently concealed her convictions may be more problematic than the convictions themselves.”

If you are out front about your convictions, there is a chance you will be allowed to serve on the jury.  But lie about previous criminal records, and if they are discovered, then chances are you are rejected from service. The belief is that if you are lying about your own criminal past, then how can you be fair when judging a defendant?  Good question, for sure.

Corra Group Increases Employment Screening Services to Headhunters and Staffing Agencies

Mon, November 14th, 2011 - 5:27 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Here is a recent press release from Corra Group.

orra Group has expanded its efforts to assist headhunters with their employment screening efforts now that employers are tasking them with background checks. Increasingly, clients are passing onto staffing services responsibility for background checking in the final stages of the recruiting process.

“This is a new trend in recruiting and staffing,” noted Gordon Basichis, Co-Founder of Corra Group. “It used to be employers conducted any background checks as well as aptitude and psychological testing. But now more employers are shifting responsibility to the headhunters.”

For the full article on the press release go to this link.

Debate Continues on Expanding Background Checks for Home Care Workers

Fri, November 11th, 2011 - 5:36 am - By Gordon Basichis

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There has been an ongoing debate about conducted more comprehensive background checks for home care workers.  As studies have revealed significant numbers of abuses, there is a greater incentive to screen home care workers who tend to the needs, usually, of older citizens and children.

However, the economic downturn has given some governmental agencies pause.   With the economy lagging, administrators just don’t want to spend the extra money.  An article in the Washington State The News Tribune, reflects the ongoing quandary while calling for expanded background checks for home care workers….”Three years ago, Washington voters overwhelmingly supported federal background checks and increased training for the people who care for our seniors and citizens with disabilities. After the implemen-tation of these needed reforms was postponed, we have seen the risk to our seniors grow…….

………………….I-1163 requires home care workers, who provide the same type of care as nursing home workers but in a more isolated setting, to pass a full federal background check. Our current, state-level check misses crimes committed outside the state of Washington, leaving our seniors and disabled citizens vulnerable to felons from other states. Common sense dictates that we close this background check loophole.”

I would venture while extended background checks for home care workers can be costly, so can lawsuits over liability issues should a home care worker assault and injure or even kill one of his charges.  While it is commonplace for legislators to dismiss the background checks as being too costly and apply what limited funds they have to what they consider greater priorities, in certain cases the dollars spent on extended background checks may prove cost effective.

Look, either way, with limited budgets in a bad economy and state hurting for revenue, this is a very tough call.  It is an honest dilemma and perhaps, besides the obvious threat of theft and injury on the part of home care workers, further study has to be done on whether the bucks spent up front would prove a bargain in the long run.


For the complete article and additional information–Read more:









Who Benefits From Occupy Wall Street? The Private Security Industry

Thu, November 10th, 2011 - 5:47 am - By Gordon Basichis

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The Occupy Wall Street Movement has caused its fair share of consternation to a good many persons and organizations.  In certain areas where Occupy Whatever is taking place, small business owners are losing business due to the congregations outside their doors.  Often regular customers will not patronage businesses where large crowds are gathered outside or nearby.   People are intimidated.  It’s that simple, really.

Then, of course, there has been vandalism where various businesses have been damaged or covered with the type of graffiti that may be deemed even more unsightly than the normally graffiti applied by gangs and taggers. In the case of the Oakland Port,s there is trepidation among business owners that holiday orders shipped from Asia and other parts may not be unloaded and passed through Customs in enough time to populate the retail shops that largely depend on the holiday season to get them through the years.

City officials and local governments are concerned about the mess the demonstrators are causing.  There is the increased cost of traffic management and overtime for law enforcement.  Given the tight budgets in a bad economy, more than a few local governments are concerned where they will find the extra money or if they have to rob from one fund to pay for the unexpected costs.

So, all in all, it’s a mess.  Executives are fearful about their companies and their well being.  City officials  are fearful of what may happen to their cities.  There are reports of trouble within the occupied zones and most wonder when if ever, maybe the winter, the movement will dissipate.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

And of course the large multi-nationals, at least their executives are wary that the demonstrations may become more violent.  There is a growing concern among executives that the demonstrators may choose to up the ante and a few of the more volatile may try to physically attack the dreaded one percent.   Nothing is ruled out, anything from expanded vandalism and hacking, to actual assaults on the executives themselves.   Most recall all too vividly the case of fund manager, Edward Lampert, who was hoisted out of his Ford Expedition and held hostage for several days in a motel.  Oh, the ignominy.  For a C Level executive to be forced to stay in a motel.  Nevertheless, while Lampert was ultimately returned safely and his kidnappers convicted, the next time around, many fear, and with another victim the situation could get way out of hand.

But one group is not so burdened by the Occupy Movement.  One group in fact welcomes it and the effect it is having in cities and in corporations around the country.  That is the private security industry.  In a tough economy, according to an article in the New York Times, business is booming.   There are threat assessment detachments, private body guards, enhanced security forces, and the security technology and systems that these companies sell and others will buy.  It’s a virtual bonanza.

Executives and their corporations are employing everything from bullet proof a lot of things to palm print coded door locks.  They are building safe rooms and steel fortified walls with some designed like bank vaults to dispel drilling or torching efforts.   Agencies are running background checks on the executivs’ personal staff and anyone working for his family.

According to the one article in the New York Times…”But the most recent round of Main Street rage has raised the risk factor. Last week, when protesters picketed the homes of some of Manhattan’s richest residents…Scenes like these are causing executives to supplement their internal security teams with the services of outside specialty firms. A chief financial officer of a major bank recently called Risk Control Strategies with the news that he had received a menacing e-mail from an anonymous sender.”

None of this comes cheap.  With private security, at least good private security, you had better be in the one percent if you are expecting to afford it.  Here is another quote from the article…”All these provisions come at a startling cost. Just one highly trained bodyguard — “personal protection professional,” in the industry parlance — can run $200 an hour, and a full-time driver can cost an executive $150,000 per year. A thorough sweep for surveillance can cost $1.25 per square foot of space and a full-home surveillance system can run anywhere from $100,000 to $1.5 million.”

As a company that conducts extended year background checks for a variety of private intelligence and investigative groups, thorough security requires a great deal of expertise.  We are familiar with a variety of the monitoring systems in lace and the various methods applied to threat assessment both to the corporation and the individual.   There are any number of bug sweepers and video devices.

Needless to say, private security groups are ramping up their employment.  Some of the security groups know who they are recruiting and staff through word of mouth and special channels.  But some turn over  some of their staffing requirements to recruiters who may be recruiting out of colleges and universities that specialize in curricula in the criminal sciences and Homeland Security.

A fair number of colleges and universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Homeland Security related course, including counter terrorism.   As the private security industry expands, many schools accommodate these new demands and provide graduates with the requisite skill sets.   I know a number of people, some younger but some older who went back to school for this particular education.

Despite the vagaries and the probable temporary nature of the Occupy Movement, at least as it exists on the streets, there are other concerns that have caused increases in private security.   Wall Street Executives wary of being targets for investigation have increased private security.  Given the startling increase in industrial espionage and corporate theft including precious databases and proprietary information, in these adverse times, for the private security industry, business is swell.


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