Personal History Statement (PHS) Instructional Guide

The Background Investigation Unit is providing this guide to assist you in being successful within the background investigation component of the hiring process.  Always refer to the PHS to receive explicit instructions on completing the document.

Personal History Statement (PHS) Instructions:

  • You are introducing yourself to CDCR and your Background Investigator through the PHS. Thoroughness and accuracy is crucial for success.
  • Each section in the PHS provides explicit instructions.  Read the instructions carefully to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. 
  • Use family and friends to help recall information that has happened in your life.
  • If you cannot recall exact dates be as accurate as possible. 
  • When answering the relevant questions provide as much detail into the reason for your “Yes” answer. The more information provided, the easier it is for a Background Investigator to have an understanding of the situation.
  • If you need additional room to explain your situation, utilize page 37 of the PHS.  Reference the question number and provide your explanation.
  • Prior to submitting your complete PHS, Authorization for Release of Information (page 4) of your PHS MUST be NOTARIZED.
  • All fields within the PHS that require your signature / initials, must be a “wet signature” in ink. Electronic signature blocks are not acceptable.

PHS Section 1: Personal

Provide your past and present Social Media Usernames such as but not limited to, even if they are deleted.

Provide your past and present Social Media Usernames such as but not limited to, even if they are deleted:

  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • MySpace

PHS Section 2: Relatives and References

Ensure the required information for your relatives and references is correct.  By providing outdated information (i.e. phone number, address) may cause a delay in completing your background investigation.

If you no longer have contact with your former Spouse, Registered Domestic Partner, Parent, Guardian, Siblings, or Children, provide as much information known to you as possible.

PHS Section 3: Education

Read and follow the instructions carefully to ensure your education record is properly detailed.

PHS Section 4: Residence History

Be as accurate as possible when providing the address and time frame you lived at the residence.

Ensure you list every residence you have lived since the day you turned 16 years old.

Potential resources you can use to assist you in obtaining past residence information:

PHS Section 5: Employment

If you maintained employment with an employer and transferred locations, list each location you worked.

List every job you have ever had in your life.  Include any place you volunteered or were an intern.

Potential resources you can use to assist you in obtaining past employment information:

PHS Section 6: Military

If you are a male you would have most likely registered with the Selective Service when you were in high school or when you turned 18 years old.  You can check the status of your registration on the Selective Service System.

PHS Section 7: Financial

If you have ever filed for or declared bankruptcy (Chapter 7, 11 or 13) please provide a copy of your court document that shows you have been released of your debt responsibilities.

PHS Section 8: Legal

If you have ever (meaning anytime ever in your life) had any contact with law enforcement, you will need to provide accurate information as to the reason you had law enforcement contact as required on the PHS.

If you were charged with committing a crime but the charges were dropped, you will still need to provide accurate information as required on the PHS.

Potential resources you can use to assist you in obtaining information:

  • You can obtain court documents. You can try looking online through the Superior Court of the county you received the charge on their online court case index if they have one.
  • You can also contact the law enforcement agency you have, or possibly had, contact with to try to obtain police reports.  Not all police reports are released to the general public, but will be released to a Background Investigator. If you are told there is no report, but you believe you had the contact, you are required to disclose the information on the PHS. 

Illegal Use of Drugs:

  • Read and follow the instructions carefully to ensure you understand what is being asked of you. Remember, have you ever means anytime in your life.
  • CDCR recognizes some qualified applicants may have used illegal drugs, or abused legal drugs or substances, at some point in their past;  application of CDCR’s drug use policy guidelines, in conjunction with case-by-case analysis, will determine if an applicant’s prior drug usage or activity will result in the applicant’s non-selection for employment with the CDCR. 
  • All applicants are required to disclose their current and past drug usage and activity. 
  • An applicant will not be selected for employment if they deliberately misrepresent their drug history in connection with their application for employment.

PHS Section 9: Motor Vehicle

Potential resources you can use to assist you in obtaining information:

  • You can try looking online through the Superior Court of the county you received the citation on their online court case index if they have one.

PHS Section 10: Inmate/Parolee/Gang

If you have ever known any person who has been or currently incarcerated in jail or prison, you will be required to disclose each of these people.

Potential resources you can use to assist you in obtaining information:

  • If you are trying to obtain information on an inmate currently under the jurisdiction of CDCR you can utilize CDCR Inmate Locator.

Section 11: Other Topics

Do not forget to sign your initials to the three boxes next to:

  • GROOMING STANDARDS
  • NO HOSTAGE POLICY
  • USE OF FORCE POLICY

This section requires you to also sign and date it. 

Section 12: Penalty and Certification

Ensure you sign and date this section after thoroughly reading and understanding what is being asked of you. 

Questions?

For questions regarding Background Investigations, please contact the field office where you took your written exam.  For those who took the online exam and you have questions, please contact your local field office at one of the numbers listed below:

  • Northern Field Office – (916) 255-2500
  • Central Field Office – (559) 277-7151
  • Southern Field Office – (909) 944-6676