Expungement Essay

1495 words - 6 pages

Every American citizen has a record that shows in detail information about that individual. Records can contain any sort of information whether it is financial records, medical records, education, etc. When one is of age and decides to apply for a job, many employers ask for an individual’s record to see if they have been apart of any criminal activities. It is quite common for employers to conduct background checks when being interested in hiring someone. People who have a criminal record have the option to either seal it or expunge it. Sealing a record does not make the record non-existing, but shields the accessibility of the record from the public, unless accessed under court order. On ...view middle of the document...

Life, succeeding to an arrest, can be permanently changed. Regardless of the means for conviction or arrest, a citation persists on a criminal record, thus expungements were constructed on the proposition that those with criminal records will have trouble re-entering into society, along with the many difficulties and barricades past convicts or exonerees – persons wrongfully convicted – face when trying to re-join into public life. Due to this possible degree of social ostracism, “many ex convicts and exonerees simply feel hopeless” (westervelt, Cook 35) in attempts to be looked at as an individual with out a criminal past. In fact, “several ex-convicts and exonerees state they were greeted with fear from neighbors, suspicion from family, and hate messages from others frequently” along with “community members still seeing them as guilty criminals, who have simply ‘beat the system’" (Westervelt, Cook) after regaining a life from prison/jail, or the obtainment to criminal history. This type of ostracism seen by the community is also high in the work field and can limit job opportunities offered to persons with criminal records, even for less serious crimes in comparison to rape and murder, such as marijuana possession and other misdemeanors. Supporters for expungements, such as certain state and federal legislatures, recognized the difficulty and hardships persons with criminal records faced to obtain employment when reintegrating with society, leading to the creation of expungement laws. Furthermore, supporters state “exonerees and persons with a criminal record need wide ranging assistance based on their multi-dimensional needs” (Westervelt, Cook 36), with expungement laws being one of those needs. However, “the wide spread practice of sealing or expunging criminal and delinquency records is a failure” and “despite the good intentions of its proponents, it does not prove the relief intended and actually does harm, frequently, by the hoax it plays upon ex-offenders and the general public.” (kogan, Loughery 378). For instance, imagine a parent sending their kid off to school -- would you want a previously charged sex offender to be given the position of there teacher due to an expunged criminal record? Numerous concerns are at threat should information about individuals who have violated the law be expunged and held guarded from the public, especially from employers. Public employers deserve to know if past offenders have a criminal history for several purposes, in which the individual offender and business owner could possibly be at risk. Besides the obvious concerns of having a pedophile working in daycare facilities or embezzlers working for banking corporations, having access to a possible employee’s criminal record could factually save a business. For instance, “the effect of unknowingly hiring employees who have previously engaged in a pattern of theft could possibly devastate a business (and) research has suggested that employee theft is...

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