Update to Garbo’s Database Policy to Create a More Equitable Background Check

Feb 17 · 2 min read

Garbo is acutely aware of systemic racial inequality in America and that the intimations of this are embedded in the criminal justice system. Garbo knows that this racism bleeds through to public records. We realize our role in this.

As a first public step and active stance toward equity, we will exclude drug possession charges on Garbo’s platform. The criminal justice system has been used to monitor substance possession in a way that promotes systemic inequality for decades. We are choosing to distance ourselves from a practice that promotes racism, hate, and oppression. The research continues to show that there is no link between drug possession and gender-based violence. Some studies have found:

  • Black and white people use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost 6 times that of whites. — NAACP
  • There were more than 1.5 million drug arrests in the U.S. in 2016. The vast majority — more than 80% — were for possession only. -US Dept of Justice
  • People of color experience discrimination at every stage of the judicial system and are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, harshly sentenced and saddled with a lifelong criminal record. This is particularly the case for drug law violations. — US Department of Justice
  • Black Americans, who are 13% of the population and 14% of drug users, are not only 37% of the people arrested for drugs but 56% of the people in state prisons for drug offenses. — The Sentencing Project
  • Most people in state prison for drug offenses have no history of violence or significant selling activity. — The New Jim Crow

Additionally, we will not include traffic tickets besides DUIs and vehicle manslaughter (or any variants). Many studies have shown that race frequently affects a police officer’s decision to stop and ticket a motorist.

Garbo will continue to evaluate how best to use public records and reports to proactively prevent gender-based violence in the digital age.

If you’re looking for more information, we recommend listening to or reading the hundreds of podcasts, books, and studies highlighting the racial injustices seen throughout the criminal justice system.

We know that this alone will not solve the problem of inequality embedded within the criminal justice system. Our advocacy committee is dedicated to reviewing data as it arrives and assessing what more can be done for more equitable solutions. As always, we welcome input from experts and survivors of the criminal justice system on these topics.

You can always reach us at hello@garbo.io.


A new kind of background check.