Montana shines light on shady dealings
- By John Monroe
- Mar 05, 2000
Montana is making it tougher for state felons to hide their criminal backgrounds.
By the end of the month, the state will add a criminal records history system
to its World Wide Web site so employers in public schools, welfare offices,
nursing homes and similar lines of work can check for rap sheets on any
State law requires social services organizations to check the criminal history
of employees for certain positions. At present, employers must submit a
request in writing for background checks, and it can take several days to
get a response. The criminal records history system will provide information
Initially, the Web site, developed in conjunction with Montana's Department
of Justice, will list only those felons convicted in Montana, although state
officials expect eventually to link their system to a national database.
Employers will need to request passwords to access the information.
"It is the first step in making sure that people who have criminal records
cannot get jobs in [sensitive] areas," said Mike Billings, administrator
of operations and technology in Montana's Department of Public Health and
The system will be part of the state's Virtual Human Services Pavilion (vhsp.dphhs.state.mt.us),
a Web portal that provides links to government agencies, including the PHHS,
the departments of Labor Industry, Justice and Commerce.