The Electronic “Scarlet Letter”: Criminal Backgrounding and a Perpetual Spoiled Identity
Format of Original
Taylor & Francis
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
Original Item ID
Crimes are multifaceted events that are not adequately explained with basic descriptors, yet a considerable amount of significance is afforded to relatively few simplistic labels that make up the contemporary “scarlet letter.” Today's criminal records create a lifetime of stigmatization for a person. These public records employ a limited range of information. By acknowledging the deleterious effects of even one documented criminal event on an individual's self-concept and status in society, we cannot avoid being faced with a serious moral dilemma in light of society's prevalent reliance upon electronic criminal records. The electronic brand carried for life poses great challenges to offender rehabilitation and reintegration.