Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

State Rap Sheets: Frequently Asked Questions


State Rap Sheets: Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a RAP Sheet?

• “RAP” stands for Record of Arrests and Prosecutions. A “rap sheet” is a record of an individual’s criminal history i.e. any contact he or she may have had with the criminal justice system. If you have ever been arrested, even if the case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, you will still have a rap sheet.

• State rap sheets are maintained by the state’s criminal record repository. A FBI rap sheet contains criminal history from each state, as well as the federal government. The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) division of the FBI maintains FBI rap sheets.

How Can I Get a Copy of My Rap Sheet?

• The agency responsible for keeping state rap sheets differs in every state. The name and address of each state’s criminal record repository, along with information on the process of obtaining a state rap sheet, is available on the National H.I.R.E. Network’s website in the “Resource and Assistance” section. Click on the state for which you need information and go to Section II, Criminal Record Repository.

• To obtain a copy of an FBI rap sheet, write to FBI CJIS Division – Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, WV 26306, or see its website.

• There is often a fee to obtain a copy of a criminal record, and in most cases, a set of fingerprints must also accompany a request.

Why Should I Get a Copy of My Rap Sheet?

• Rap sheets may contain mistakes that can be corrected before any damage is done or inappropriate decisions are made based on the information it contains.

• You will have an accurate record of your conviction history to include on applications for employment or licensing.

• You will be better prepared to answer questions about your criminal history during job interviews.