The laws regarding criminal background checks in the State of Vermont are quite open. Chapter 117 -Vermont Criminal Information Center- of title 20 -Internal Security and Public Safety- of Vermont's Statutes state that any citizen can request any sort of criminal records, unless they are deemed as classified for any reason, as long as they sign the user's agreement and comply with the necessary requirements. This includes requesting third party records as well as personal records. The code allows an extra possibility for crime researchers of gaining free access to bulk records where the name and identifying data is removed for the records. This is extremely useful for researchers, giving them a great deal of information while preserving the privacy of the subjects.
The Vermont Criminal Information Center, under the Division of Criminal Justice Services of the Department of Public Safety, is the institution that manages the criminal records in the State of Vermont. At their website, it is possible to perform criminal background checks for a fee of $30. When accessing the website's search engine, the requester is asked to give their personal information as well as their billing information. After that process, the search is realized by entering the full name and date of birth of the subject of the report. If the entered data has a perfect match in the database, the results will be presented to the requester immediately. If the result is not exact, but a list of possible matches, the Criminal Information Center will process that request personally and look for the most likely match. This process is not immediate, and the Criminal Information Center will contact the requester as soon as it is finished. If the search has no matches at all, the website will return a “no record” page, while the fee will be charged anyway. The website of the Vermont Criminal Information Center does not handle certified or notarized reports online. In order to get a certified or notarized report, the requester must contact directly the Criminal Information Center via email, telephone, mail or by going in person to their offices. If the requester is asking for their own notarized or certified personal records, the appropriate forms can be found in the Criminal Information Center's website. These records can be obtained by filling out the forms, sending them to the Criminal Information Center, and following the instructions on the website.
The Vermont Department of Corrections website has a limited Offender Search tool. The search engine allows the user to locate inmates only by name. The returned results are not proper criminal or corrections records, but a list of possible matches, including name, inmate ID, date of birth, facility where the inmate is being held and links to the case worker's email and to the Vermont Automated Notification Service. This service informs in real time of any changes in the inmate's status or location.
The Vermont Criminal Information Center is also responsible for maintaining and managing the sex offender registry. Through their website, it's possible to access to the registry's search engine, a powerful tool that allows the user to search by name, location, city or to list all non compliant offenders in the State of Vermont. The results of the search are quite accurate and complete records, including a list of offences, picture and a link to a map that points to the offender's main address.