CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, January 23, 2023

Sandoval & Lageson on Criminal Record Disclosure Policy

Juan Sandoval and Sarah Lageson (University of California, Irvine, School of Social Ecology, Department of Criminology, Law and Society and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Criminal Justice) have posted Patchwork Disclosure: Divergent Public Access and Personal Privacy across Criminal Record Disclosure Policy in the United States (Law & Policy 44, no. 3 (2022): 255-277) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Scholars have paid minimal attention to state statutory guidance that allows criminal justice agencies to disclose records that include personal information about arrestees, defendants, and incarcerated people. We analyze US state policy for police, courts, prisons, and record repositories (N=200). Most states restrict access to compiled criminal histories, but nearly all allow broad public access to agency records. Divergent policy guidance accounts for these differences, where transparency laws govern agency records while state criminal codes regulate records of arrest and prosecution, otherwise known as RAP sheets. These policy differences contribute to widespread disclosures of non-conviction records, raising questions about due process and inequalities in the big data age.

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