View Poll Results: Should Criminal Records Not be Available to the Public?

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  • Yes, limit access to police agencies, courts, defense attorneys and proscutors

    10 47.62%
  • No, we have a right to know about a person's criminal record.

    11 52.38%
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Thread: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

  1. #21
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
    that they don't get hired is a big assumption on your part, I hired a guy back in the 80's that shook his young son and killed him. He was a young father at the time of the incident and had became a positive contributor to society after his return. He made manager with our company. The public deserves access to criminal records in case people do not choose the right path when getting out. It should be just like your credit report and follow you around the rest of your life.
    No, it is not a big assumption on my part. I recognize that there are job opportunities for people with criminal records. Some states even have special programs to find re-employment for them (but which often suffer from abuse by unscrupulous employers). In many cases they find work in construction or as truckers (some of these eventually become independent truckers). However, the vast majority of them find it very difficult to get work, especially in our current job market. As I mentioned in a prior reply, I know this for a fact due to a recent period of employment within my State unemployment office.

    We not only handled people who have lost their jobs, but also people who are seeking employment. This includes recently released felons who need help finding work. They come out willing and able, participate in job training programs and are diligent work searches, and yet the bulk (approximately 80%) remain frustrated in their efforts. This because many of the biggest employers (banks, fast food chains, companies like Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, etc.) openly declare they will not hire people with criminal records. Beyond this, facing the glut of skilled and unskilled unemployed, H.R. departments use an honest answer about criminal records as one more method used to weed out job applications to a manageable number before beginning the hiring process.

    Furthermore, over the last few years since the government declared the “War on Terror,” background check have become extremely easy due to data-mining companies. News agencies haven’t helped because they typically lump people with criminal records into any story concerning threats to the “security of our nation.” I am reminded of one example a couple of years ago where all the major news networks were reporting how unsafe our commercial harbors were due to the fact that a significant portion (30% or so?) of the truckers who made pick-ups and deliveries had criminal records. Needless to say this helped “security” by reducing employment opportunities in trucking for people with criminal records. We haven't even touched on felons who are required to register as sex offenders.

    I could go on and on, but the fact remains, easy access to criminal records has proven a nightmare for the majority of felons seeking honest work after release back into our society.
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 06-24-13 at 03:10 AM.

  2. #22
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    No, it is not a big assumption on my part. I recognize that there are job opportunities for people with criminal records. Some states even have special programs to find re-employment for them (but which often suffer from abuse by unscrupulous employers). In many cases they find work in construction or as truckers (some of these eventually become independent truckers). However, the vast majority of them find it very difficult to get work, especially in our current job market. As I mentioned in a prior reply, I know this for a fact due to a recent period of employment within my State unemployment office.

    We not only handled people who have lost their jobs, but also people who are seeking employment. This includes recently released felons who need help finding work. They come out willing and able, participate in job training programs and are diligent work searches, and yet the bulk (approximately 80%) remain frustrated in their efforts. This because many of the biggest employers (banks, fast food chains, companies like Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, etc.) openly declare they will not hire people with criminal records. Beyond this, facing the glut of skilled and unskilled unemployed, H.R. departments use an honest answer about criminal records as one more method used to weed out job applications to a manageable number before beginning the hiring process.

    Furthermore, over the last few years since the government declared the “War on Terror,” background check have become extremely easy due to data-mining companies. News agencies haven’t helped because they typically lump people with criminal records into any story concerning threats to the “security of our nation.” I am reminded of one example a couple of years ago where all the major news networks were reporting how unsafe our commercial harbors were due to the fact that a significant portion (30% or so?) of the truckers who made pick-ups and deliveries had criminal records. Needless to say this helped “security” by reducing employment opportunities in trucking for people with criminal records. We haven't even touched on felons who are required to register as sex offenders.

    I could go on and on, but the fact remains, easy access to criminal records has proven a nightmare for the majority of felons seeking honest work after release back into our society.
    As it should be, liability is far to great to hire a felon that cause harm to others in the workplace.

  3. #23
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
    As it should be, liability is far to great to hire a felon that cause harm to others in the workplace.

    Exactly the presumption that prevents employment and drives these people back into a life of crime. Whatever happened to the idea that Justice balances the scales? That you do the crime, then do the time, so that you've paid for your offense when you are released back into society?

    Might as well go back to the example of feudal Japan, where there were no such things as prisons. If a person was accused of any crime and judged guilty by his lord, the only punishment was death.

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    Exactly the presumption that prevents employment and drives these people back into a life of crime. Whatever happened to the idea that Justice balances the scales? That you do the crime, then do the time, so that you've paid for your offense when you are released back into society?

    Might as well go back to the example of feudal Japan, where there were no such things as prisons. If a person was accused of any crime and judged guilty by his lord, the only punishment was death.
    I guess we should continue to loan money to people with bad credit history and bankruptcy on their records?

  5. #25
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
    I guess we should continue to loan money to people with bad credit history and bankruptcy on their records?
    Please, that is a red herring if ever I saw one. You are trying to compare apples and cars. In the first place, neither bad credit nor bankruptcy prevents lenders from making additonal loans. It just increases the interest rate and reduces the amounts typically loaned until the person builds up his credit again. Second, systems are in place that allow a person to rebuild his credit, not the least of which is that most "bad credit" can only remain in credit reports for seven (7) years, while bankruptcy is 7 to 10 years.

    Now unless your state offers some form of record expungement process (not all do, and several that do only allow it for arrests that don't lead to charges, and/or charges that don't lead to actual convictions), your criminal record is public and follows you for life.

    Then, as already demonstrated by your comments, most people presume that if you've been convicted of a crime, you are a "criminal threat" for the rest of your life. Of course if you are already pre-judged and can't escape the effects of such prejudice, why not continue in a life of crime?

    Personally I find it a strange sort of attitude for people to hold such prejudices, since I believe that just about everyone old enough to know what they are doing has committed some level of criminality in their life, they just haven't been caught. It could be as simple as regularly "fudging" your tax returns, smoking a little pot, committing acts of vandalism, or it could be something much more serious as in sexual deviancy, assault, even murder.

    My view is that punishment should fit the crime, but once the punishment is completed and society allows you to return then society in obligated to accept you back without reservations.
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 06-24-13 at 12:28 PM.

  6. #26
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    Please, that is a red herring if ever I saw one. You are trying to compare apples and cars. In the first place, neither bad credit nor bankruptcy prevents lenders from making additonal loans. It just increases the interest rate and reduces the amounts typically loaned until the person builds up his credit again. Second, systems are in place that allow a person to rebuild his credit, not the least of which is that most "bad credit" can only remain in credit reports for seven (7) years, while bankruptcy is 7 to 10 years.

    Now unless your state offers some form of record expungement process (not all do, and several that do only allow it for arrests that don't lead to charges, and/or charges that don't lead to actual convictions), your criminal record is public and follows you for life.

    Then, as already demonstrated by your comments, most people presume that if you've been convicted of a crime, you are a "criminal threat" for the rest of your life. Of course if you are already pre-judged and can't escape the effects of such prejudice, why not continue in a life of crime?

    Personally I find it a strange sort of attitude for people to hold such prejudices, since I believe that just about everyone old enough to know what they are doing has committed some level of criminality in their life, they just haven't been caught. It could be as simple as regularly "fudging" your tax returns, smoking a little pot, committing acts of vandalism, or it could be something much more serious as in sexual deviancy, assault, even murder.

    My view is that punishment should fit the crime, but once the punishment is completed and society allows you to return then society in obligated to accept you back without reservations.
    pedophiles too?

  7. #27
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    I saw a poll which asked "Should Criminal Records Be Erased After the Sentence is Served?" I think the pollster asked the wrong question (for the right reasons though).

    The REAL question should be about public access. Thanks to data-mining companies and Background Check services, every-ones dirty laundry is open to the public. That's because we all seem to think we have a right to know everyone else's secrets, while at the same time wanting to keep our own from public view.

    At issue for me is the concern that convicted felons who cannot re-integrate into society upon release, will most certainly return to a life of crime. It may surprise most people but there are approximately 65 million adult American citizens with a criminal record. This makes them effectively un-employable because they are asked on most job applications if they have been convicted of some level of crime (misdemeanor or felony). If they say yes, they don't get the job. If they say no, a background check results in their being fired a few months after hire for "lying on their application."

    Our society works on the presumption that if a person has commited even one crime he/she is no longer to be trusted, ever! This leads to a form of social exile, forcing ex-felons to congregate and associate leading to eventual recidivism.

    Rather than erasing a record upon release, why not simply leave the record access to police agencies, prosecutors, and the courts? That's the question. Your thoughts?
    Yes. Exceptions for child molesters and rapists. Arrest records where there was never any conviction should especially be sealed.
    Having opinions all over the map is a good sign of a person capable of autonomous thinking. Felix -2011

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    I'm not interested in the gory details, but I sure as hell want to know if a hard core criminal like a convicted sex offender has moved into my neighborhood.

  9. #29
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
    pedophiles too?
    That simple two word response is not an argument but merely an appeal to emotion. A lot of assumptions are made by that response, i.e. that we agree on the definition of a "pedophile," that we agree all "pedophiles" are 100% certain to commit an offense again, that we agree simply being on a sex offender registry means the person identified is actually a "pedophile," and that being aware of his existence actually serves to protect our children from this offender.

    Accepting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV) definition of a "pedophile" as a person involved in sexual activity with a prepubescent child generally age 13 years or younger, I would personally consider any person diagnosed with this affliction as suffering from a severe mental disorder requiring permanent treatment in a state mental facility until such time as a permanent cure could be effected.

    However, The DSM also indicates that a single act of this type does NOT constitute pedophilia, since it takes repeated acts over a six month period to demonstrate this tendency. A single act could have been the result of experimentation, drunken mistake, or an emotional break-down, all leading to immediate regret and future disinterest.

    Therefore it is entirely possible for a person to have been arrested and convicted of a single such act and upon release never be a threat to any child again. That's determined via mandatory sex offender evaluations conducted during the process of the individual’s arrest, incarceration, and supervised release.

    A second problem with your simple response is that persons who engage in sexual activity with juveniles aged 15 - 19 are mislabeled "pedophiles." The DSM IV labels such activity as "Ephebophilia" and states it is NOT a mental disorder, and is considered by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association as a normative adult sexual behavior pattern.

    But in 11 states the legal age of consent is 18, therefore anyone in those states who engages in sexual activity with a person under 18 is considered criminally liable and upon conviction is labeled a sex offender. In 8 others the legal age of consent is 17, while in the remaining 31 states and the District of Columbia it is 16. So as you can see it is entirely possible for someone who would be performing an entirely legal act in one state could be convicted of a sex offense and mislabeled a "pedophile" in another depending on "age of consent" laws.

    I would not consider such people an ongoing "threat" unless of course they lived in a state where the age of consent was older than 16. But that's because I am obviously more aware, and therefore more tolerant than others in this respect.

    Finally, a Department of Justice study released in November 2012 (found here https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/240099.pdf) found that the recidivism rate for all sex offenders across the nation was only 10.3% over a 10 year period after release, and this rate drops dramatically thereafter as the offender's aged.

    So to finally answer your question, yes, I believe that only the police, courts, and prosecutors/defense attorneys need access to such records for ALL persons released into the community, even "pedophiles." That's because unlike most people who have bought into the myth of high sex offender recidivism rates, they won't abuse the knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dooble View Post
    I'm not interested in the gory details, but I sure as hell want to know if a hard core criminal like a convicted sex offender has moved into my neighborhood.
    In light of my response, I obviously don't agree. Why do you think you need to know when as long as the cops know they can investigate properly to determine the truth in any criminal act involving your kids without playing a blame game.
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 06-24-13 at 02:20 PM.

  10. #30
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dooble View Post
    I'm not interested in the gory details, but I sure as hell want to know if a hard core criminal like a convicted sex offender has moved into my neighborhood.
    I want to apologize for the prior statement, of course any parent would be angry if their child suffered abuse from someone in the neighborhood and they had not known in advance the person was a threat.

    What I meant to say (and could not edit since my time ran out according to forum rules) is: In light of my response, I obviously don't agree. Why do you think you need to know when as long as the cops know who lives in the neighborhood they can investigate properly to determine the truth in any criminal act without playing a blame game.

    My meaning was that just because you "know" of an offender living in your neighborhood, it does not statistically provide any greater protection for your children than not knowing would. Meanwhile, not knowing would prevent anyone from acting in an unnecessarily hostile manner towards a person who is statistically unlikely to re-offend anyway.
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 06-24-13 at 02:33 PM.

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