A Suggested Legislative Device for Dealing with Abuses of Criminal Records

There are pitfalls apparent in ameliorating the overuse of criminal records. For example, techniques of expunging, sealing, and limiting access do not affect legal status. No amount of expunging, or sealing, or limiting access is truly useful unless civil rights, such as the right to vote, are restored as well. Another problem is the inherent breadth of a criminal record, which can involve acts or allegations of acts ranging from traffic offenses to murder or rape. Thus, it is difficult to draw precise guidelines delineating those parts of the record which may be legitimately used. The apparently illegitimate use of criminal records does not lend itself to easy solution. The aims of this article are to explore some abuses of criminal records and to offer some tentative solutions, primarily in the form of a proposed statute.