Will states make rap sheets a public record?

States are on a course of assigning a value to particular crimes by segmenting them into boutique registries of sex offenders, methamphetamine manufacturers, domestic violence perpetrators and now a proposed registry for those convicted of violent non-sexual offenses against youth. There is also the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service, to which 40 states now contribute names and personal information on those who are incarcerated, searchable in a free Web database.

The domestic violence and the violent offender registries are both proposed by the Illinois legislature. HB 4193, Violence Against Youth, is awaiting the governor’s signature.

I wrote about the Illinois meth manufacturers database, which will be hosted at the state police site.

Oddly, criminal records with the personal information of the offenders, is being posted by states at the same time that county courts are removing their criminal record indices from remote electronic access. Why don’t states just post rap sheets rather than creating a hierarchy of offensive acts in selective registries, which are more stigmatizing and of little or no greater advantage to protecting citizens?

UPDATE on HB 4193: June 26: AP reports, “Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday signed into law a measure making Illinois the only state to have such a list, experts say.”


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