Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Need for Criminal Records Clearing

Illinois Access and Review

Recent expert research on the number of Americans that have been incarcerated and have a criminal record has uncovered staggering statistics1:


  • 1 in 2 adults in the U.S. has had an immediate family member incarcerated for one or more nights in jail or prison.

  • 113 million adults – nearly half of all adults in America – have experienced family incarceration

  • 1 in 5 has had a parent incarcerated

  • Incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color and families who are low-income




A 2009 Justice Department study found that a past criminal conviction of any sort reduces the likelihood of a job offer by nearly 50 percent. 2


It is no surprise that having a record makes a job search that much harder. The difficulties to making a better life created by having a criminal record include:3


  • Finding and keeping a job

  • Getting a professional license

  • Enrolling in public benefits

  • Securing housing

  • Obtaining a student loan



An estimated 20-30 million Americans could clear their criminal records partially or entirely.4


With so many people eligible to have their record cleared (expungement and/or record sealing), what barriers are keeping individuals from pursuing criminal record clearing?5


  • They don’t know they are eligible

  • They don’t know how to do it

  • They think the cost will be prohibitive

  • They think it will take too much time


The first step to applying for a state record clearing, or expungement is to get a personal criminal records check. In Illinois, an Access and Review records check returns all compiled (reported) Illinois state criminal history data, not just conviction information. 

To obtain an Access and Review, an applicant will need to be fingerprinted. The fingerprints are processed by the Illinois State police (ISP), who will return the applicant's criminal history transcript along with a Record Challenge form. (If no criminal record history is found, a written statement to that effect is sent to the applicant.)

An applicant can fill out the Record Challenge form and apply to expunge records on their own. Information on submitting a record challenge to the ISP can be found under Criminal History on their website:

Not all records may be eligible for expungement. An individual may want to request assistance from their attorney, or seek guidance from pro bono or set fee organizations available to help advise individuals on legal matters, including which record information may be cleared. (Scroll down for links to a few organizations in Illinois.) 

Accurate Biometrics, a trusted fingerprint service provider for 20 years, offers fingerprinting for Illinois Access and Review criminal history record checks. Results are mailed to the applicant directly from the state (allow 7 to 10 business days). The cost is $50. Click here to learn more,


We offer walk-in service at over 40 locations in Illinois. For a live schedule of hours and locations, visit:


Accurate Biometrics also offers a Personal or Self FBI Background Check to individuals who would like a federal nationwide records check. Information on how to get a FBI Background Check (Departmental Order 5556-73) can be found here:



Illinois Community Legal Aid Resources:

Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic,

Chicago Volunteer Legal Service,

DuPage Legal Aid,

Illinois Legal Aid Online,

en Español,

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc.,

Legal Aid Chicago,

Prairie State Legal Services,


Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD)





1  Every Second, The Impact of Incarceration on America’s Families | Key Findings,

December 2018, published by,


2  Investigating Prisoner Reentry: The Impact of Conviction Status on the Employment Prospects of Young Men, by Devah Pager and Bruce Western, October 2009, a National Institute of Justice Grant, Award 2005-IJ-CX-0019,


3,5  Repairing the Road to Redemption: How “Clean Slate” Policies Are Reshaping California’s Criminal Justice Reform Landscape, by Evonne M. Silva, Code for America, March 2019,


4   The Second Chance Gap, by Colleen V. Chien, October 24, 2019, Michigan Law Review, Forthcoming. SSRN:

Monday, June 1, 2020

ProtectTouch – Our Pledge for the Safety of Our Applicants

illustration of a community in the shape of a heaert

“We protect our communities by being the most trusted provider of fingerprint solutions.”

At Accurate Biometrics, our care for the community extends to every applicant that walks through our door. That’s why we maintain the strictest cleanliness and personal hygiene standards, above the guidelines listed by the CDC, and other state and municipal agency recommendations. This standard is integral to who we are, so we gave it a name:
the ProtectTouch pledge

We stay current on news and recommended guidelines,
reviewing and updating procedures as needed.

We wear masks and gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic. We kindly ask that our applicants wear masks as well, to follow the Illinois State order.

We limit the number of applicants inside our sites. Our new seating arrangement provides proper social distancing.

Our staff wipes down touch surfaces with disinfectant several times daily. Fingerprint scanners are cleaned after every applicant.

Our staff rigorously follows hand washing guidelines to kill the coronavirus.

We have been a leader in the fingerprinting industry for 20 years. Protecting applicants is of the utmost importance.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Accurate Biometrics Names Ray Palys President

January 13, 2020
Accurate Biometrics
Itasca, IL

Accurate Biometrics Appoints Ray Palys Company President

Effective immediately, Raymond Palys has been appointed president of Illinois-based, Accurate Biometrics, a trusted leader in fingerprint service and solutions.

Ray brings to Accurate Biometrics more than 35 years of business experience, including 25 years as a business management consultant to middle market companies.

He has a proven leadership track record, having advised more than 200 companies in the areas of strategic planning, sales performance, organizational development, financial controls, business excellence and performance management.

Ray received his BS degree in Industrial Management from Northern Illinois University, and an MBA in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago.

Ray has been working as a consultant with Accurate Biometrics for the past 3 years, helping to improve aspects of the company’s leadership, planning, communication, performance, and operations.

“Ray is the right leader for Accurate Biometrics,” said Peggy Critchfield, Accurate Biometrics, CEO. “Ray’s extensive background and business development skills positions Accurate Biometrics to strengthen its current partnerships and expand our fingerprint service and technology solutions platform to meet the demands of the industry. We believe his strong leadership experience will continue to position Accurate Biometrics as a ‘Best in Class’ fingerprint service provider.”

Accurate Biometrics wishes continued success to outgoing president Tim Daniels, as he pursues the next exciting phase of his career.

About Accurate Biometrics

Accurate Biometrics is a Certified Woman-Owned Small Business providing live scan fingerprinting service and solutions. We are a trusted leader in the biometric services industry, and the preferred choice of Federal, State, Municipal, Corporate, and other organizational entities. Accurate Biometrics is one of the first companies nationally to submit fingerprints to a State AFIS System for non-criminal justice history record checks, and have been an FBI Channeler since 2006. We have proudly provided innovative fingerprint solutions to our clients for 20 years.

For more information, contact:

Peggy Critchfield
Chairman and CEO
Accurate Biometrics

Monday, January 13, 2020

Accurate Biometrics is now Fingerprinting for Illinois Adult Recreational Use Cannabis

Image of a marijuana leaf held up to the sky

January 2, 2020
Accurate Biometrics
Illinois Fingerprint Vendor License # 262.000016

Accurate Biometrics is now Fingerprinting for Illinois Adult Recreational Use Cannabis 

Accurate Biometrics, Illinois’ most trusted, BBB-accredited live scan vendor is now providing fingerprinting services to cannabis cultivators, dispensing agents, transporters, infusers, grower and required support personnel in compliance with Illinois administrative rules.

On January 1, 2020, adult recreational use cannabis became legal in Illinois. (See Illinois House Bill Amendment 1438 signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on June 25, 2019.

Illinois cannabis cultivators, dispensing agents, transporters, infusers, grower and support personnel applying for licensing for adult use cannabis will require a fingerprint-based background check as part of the licensing requirement.

Accurate Biometrics has over 40 walk-in fingerprinting locations throughout the state of Illinois, and we also process out-of-state FBI FD-258 fingerprint cards by mail.

Businesses wishing to establish an account receive special pricing, reporting options, and a dedicated account manager. Please contact Julie Mester at, or 773-685-5832 for details.

For general information and the necessary forms visit:

For fingerprinting locations and hours:

For general questions, call our toll-free Customer Support line: 866-361-9944

About Accurate Biometrics
Accurate Biometrics is a Certified Woman-Owned Small Business providing live scan fingerprinting service and solutions. We are a trusted leader in the biometric services industry, and the preferred choice of Federal, State, Municipal, Corporate and other organizational entities. We have proudly provided innovative fingerprint solutions to our clients for 20 years.

For more information, contact:

Julie Mester
Key Account Manager
Accurate Biometrics

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Will West/William West Case: Did two nearly identical inmates changed the way people are identified?

Photo comparing mug shots and fingerprint of Will West and William West

In 1903 when Will West, convicted of a crime, was delivered to Leavenworth Penitentiary to serve his sentence, the records clerk M.W. McClaughry informed him he was already in Leavenworth, serving time for murder. It turned out that a person of practically identical name, appearance and Bertillon measurements was already in the prison system. 

The Bertillon system for identification, developed by French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon in the 1880s, involved taking precise physical measurements of a person’s head and body, which were included on a card along with photos and a description of identifying personal features.

A chronology of the West’s case shows that the records clerk learned of the fingerprint identification system from Sgt. John K. Ferrier of Scotland Yard in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair. In September of that year, Major R.W. McClaughry, warden at the penitentiary, requested permission to install the fingerprint system at Leavenworth. In November that permission was granted. Will and William West's unique fingerprints were finally captured and compared in 1905.

The Will/William West case has been credited with ushering in the use of fingerprints for identifying inmates by law enforcement. In truth, the case was not well known until after the fingerprint identification was already established in the U.S. (It was adopted by the U.S. Military in 1905, and quickly thereafter adopted by police agencies.) 

The case was not reported in print until 1918 in an article Personal Identification by Harris Wilder and Bert Wentworth. However, the West case is an interesting story, and does help to illustrate the reason why fingerprinting replaced the Bertillon system. 

Today, fingerprinting remains critical for identification in the criminal justice system, useful for identifying records and maintaining criminal history.

Will and William West conundrum: How two unrelated but identical inmates showed need for fingerprinting

by Martin Chalakoski, Sept. 29, 2017, for

A Fingerprint Fable: The Will and William West Case

by Robert D. Olsen, Sr., Kansas Bureau of Investigation

(This story appeared in the November 1987, Vol. 37, No. 11 issue of Identification News, which was the next to the last issue prior to changing publication format and becoming the Journal of Forensic Identification)

History of Fingerprints

2018, Crime Scene Forensics, LLC, Concord, NC;

Accurate Biometrics

Managed Fingerprinting and Identity Solutions