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Beyond the eternal criminal record: Public support for expungement
Criminology & Public Policy  (IF4.333),  Pub Date : 2020-11-17, DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12531
Alexander L. Burton, Francis T. Cullen, Justin T. Pickett, Velmer S. Burton,, Angela J. Thielo

In The Eternal Criminal Record, James Jacobs detailed how it has become increasingly difficult to escape the mark of a criminal record. One way to “wipe the slate clean” is through the official expungement of criminal records. We assess public views toward this policy using a national sample of American adults (N = 1,000). Public support for expungement is high for persons convicted of property and substance‐related offenses, who stay crime free for 7–10 years, and who “signal” their reform through stable employment and completion of a rehabilitation program. Members of the public are also concerned about unfettered public access to criminal records and want to ensure that any available criminal record information is accurate. The strongest predictor of support for expungement is a belief in redeemability.