As of August 1st, 2005, the statute of the state of Minnesota requires the Department of Public Safety to have public criminal records available online for any citizen who wants to look them up. The records are available at the Computerized Criminal History System (CCH), a part of the website of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
However, the access to these records is not complete. By default, the records are limited to all adult misdemeanors, felonies and convictions less than fifteen years old. If any individual wants to look up any complete record, they must produce a BCA Informed Consent Form, signed by the subject of the report. This report would be delivered via mail at a cost of fifteen dollars. If anyone wants to request their own complete record, they can get it, delivered via mail, for eight dollars. The CCH has a separate search engine for the records of crimes related to the manufacture or distribution of methamphetamine, which is available at https://mor.state.mn.us/MorOffenderSearch.aspx.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) offers a different way of looking up criminal records. In their website, it's possible to look up their databases of people related to their organisation through their various search engines. This databases are accessible online. This website gives access to the following information:
- Level 3 Predatory Offender Search engine. Here, it's possible to look for level 3 predatory offenders with high risk of re-offending- by name, city, county or even ZIP code.
- Offender Locator. This options allows the user to look up all the offenders who have been committed to the DOC, and are still under their supervision, including those who are currently incarcerated and those who have been released under supervision.
- Active DOC fugitives. This is quite a straight forward database, a collection of pictures of fugitives, with links to their records.
The DOC website also links to the CCH search engine, making it easier to perform background checks and to contrast the information contained in both databases.
If anyone is looking for information on the sex offender registry, the US Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) has a powerful search engine that allows the user to look up the sex offender registry database. The main problem with this search engine is that, in order to perform any kind of search, it requires the first name and last name of the alleged offender, which usually makes it really hard to perform the necessary research.
Both the CCH and the DOC databases and search engines provide with extremely useful and personal information. These criminal records can be an extremely useful tool, but they must be used with some degree of intelligence and sensibility. As the CCH's website clearly states, if the criminal record is used to perform a background check on an applicant for a job, it is mandatory to inform the candidate that the background check is being performed through the CCH.