Checkr pledges to maintain trust and safety for our customers while giving all candidates a fair chance to work.
One-third of Americans have a criminal record. That is 77 million people who hold the stigma of having a record and face thousands of restrictions for obtaining employment*. When Americans with conviction histories are prevented from securing employment, their chances of recidivism and reincarceration are heightened, and the effects of incarceration can affect generations of loved ones. A 2011 study found that employment was the single most important influence on decreasing recidivism — someone’s likelihood to reoffend. Even just 30 days of employment lowered the three-year recidivism rate by 62%**.
We believe that people thrive when given a fair chance. A criminal sentence should never be a life sentence to unemployment. We believe that criminality is an action and not an identity and that human potential extends beyond the past. Through advocacy and thought leadership, we are committed to educating companies and policymakers on the benefits of hiring people with records, and expanding their ideas of trust and safety to include fair chance hiring. At Checkr, our fair chance talent outperforms our average employees on scores of engagement and loyalty by over 30%. Through technology, we will develop tools to help people secure roles that leverage their lived experiences as benefits. We believe there is work for everyone and when people find the roles that fit them, they flourish.
We recognize that it can be challenging to interpret background check reports objectively, especially without the right tools, processes, and statistics. Too often people perceive risk through an emotional response rather than a rational one. Reactions are often based on an individual's unconscious bias and lived experiences rather than actual risk. Stereotypes about people with conviction histories can lead to overvaluing outliers and worst case scenarios during the hiring process. As a result, employers may consider irrelevant information during their review of candidates’ reports — leading to denial of employment, even when there is little risk for the job in question.
We believe in empowering decision-makers with the right data and tools to yield better hiring outcomes. Educating customers on industry best practices removes personal biases and replaces it with objective data. Our current products let customers remove irrelevant records to focus on what’s actually important, and to more efficiently evaluate any concerns. But we can do more. As we evolve our business to go beyond reporting criminal records, we commit to developing products that assess risk based on empirical evidence rather than historical norms and misconceptions.
While we have witnessed our AI-powered technology reduce bias and improve fair hiring practices, we recognize that technology also poses challenges and risks that need careful attention. We operate inside a complex domain and our data is reliant on a criminal justice system infused with historical and ongoing discrimination. Products built using this data often exacerbate existing inequalities based on race and gender. We also acknowledge that we bring our own biases to the table when designing and building solutions for our customers.
Transparency about our intentions and true impact is necessary for accountability and change in ourselves and the background check industry. We will run new products through a fairness evaluation to understand impact, both positive and negative, and share what we learn with others. This evaluation is necessary to be accountable to our mission and our fairness commitments. We will use the results to improve our products so they do not create or reinforce discrimination, and we encourage others to do the same.