How would an Electronic Portal with Records of Criminals work

An electronic portal with criminal records, created by the help of the police and justice system would constitute majorly previously known convicted criminals and their profiles. The information to be put down would include; the full names of the criminal, their age, sex, marital status and number of children if any, ethnic community, level of education, their area of residence, physical address, place of work (before conviction and after conviction) the crime they have been charged with including details of the crime, criminal sentence awarded, date of release, if the case was closed or if it is an ongoing investigation, prior charges if any, spent status, a passport size photo and fingerprints. An example of a criminal profile would include;

Criminals name: Johnson Smith
Age: 39 years
Sex: male
Ethnic community: Kikuyu
Marital status: married with 2 children
Level of Education: University Graduate
Area of Residence: Central Park
Physical Address: 234, wood street Asante apartments, house no. 5
Place of work:  Mechanical Technician at Richardson and Son Company
Crime: Murder
Case: solved and closed
Criminal sentence: Life Imprisonment
Date of release: N/A
Prior charges: Theft, Armed Robbery, Sexual Assault
Passport size photo and fingerprints
Spent status: N/A

This profile would be updated frequently and have current information at all times. One slot that would acquire an update is the spent status. This is the status that shows if a criminal has been free of criminal tendencies after serving one’s sentence. In most cases the duration of time before a convict can be declared ‘clean’ is after a period of five years. This assists the criminal to live a normal life in the community without the ‘criminal’ tag. Besides the criminal profile, the portal would have a section of introduction where it would give a brief introduction about the portal. Important information here would be to introduce the existence of the portal, acknowledge and appreciate those who have come together to formulate the portal, a brief on the essence of having the portal and lastly, a followed mention of what to expect in other segments of the portal. Moreover, another segment of this portal would include information on the justice system. This would be information useful to citizens concerning the law and judicial process. Brief highlights of issues such as rights of a citizen, the laws of the country, the court process from the arrest stage and any other issue that would be beneficial to citizens concerning the law, would be included. Having this segment would be quite beneficial for the purpose of learning and understanding the judicial system of the land. It is important to note that not all information will be accessible to the public and anyone unauthorized to access. Criminal records should be confidential. Only law enforcers should have access to this information.

Records Management Consulting (Courtesy of Records & Information Management East Africa)

The electronic criminal records portal would vary in different countries and states. In some places, the government and judiciary have come up with search criminal records portals that are accessible to the public. All one needs to do is key in the name, district or county, in some cases occupation and address of the person you are searching for. This search should show if the person has any criminal records, charges placed and if the case is closed or still ongoing among other information. Most people find these portals useful. It would be good to know if the person you just met and are interested in has any criminal record just to be secure. For some people, reveling that they have been on the wrong side of the law would be embarrassing. They would try to hide it and if possible never mention. Therefore, for the sake of one’s security it would be necessary to look this person up. This would be to avoid the person taking advantage and making you a victim of his/her criminal acts.

The major importance of creating the portal would be to have records of criminals in the country. This would be comprehensive and up to date records. An example is the eJusticeNY. This is a browser based application used by competent agencies to give criminal records information. It is a centralized system that has information not limited to within but also goes beyond the city. All information concerning a defendant is recorded as the case proceeds. Qualified users are in a position to access information on the state’s criminal history, search for sought after persons, search for missing persons, obtain crime tendency data for those counties outside the city, identify and review the sex offender registry, evaluate and update records of probationers among other information. This browser was established due to the need of having all information concerning a defendant from all sectors of the criminal justice system. In tern it lead to ease of accessibility, flexibility and use of the information provided. (eJusticeNY) Another importance would be to have an electronic database instead of relying on printed or written material. This would reduce the files that would have criminal records in a given office. In addition, some information would be quite useful to citizens at large. This is in reference to the information on the law and judicial process. Creating a platform in which criminal records can be exchanged between relevant people is also another advantage of setting up an electronic portal. This exchange of information could happen between two courts in different states. For a judge to deliver proper justice, it would help if all records of the suspect were put before regardless of the states the suspect has been in and the crimes he/she has committed. For example, if a person brought before a court for theft had had a history of crime and conviction in another state, the portal would show. This information would assist a judge make right judgments. In Europe, the European criminal records information exchange system was established. Information on criminal records needed to be exchanged between different member states. This system which was created in April 2013 facilitated that exchange process. Having this portal curbs the occurrence of inadequate judgment. Another importance would be to notify the public on court case information. This includes dates, case number, suspects, witnesses and any other information in regards to a particular date. Only people relevant to the case are allowed to access the information. They are required to visit the courthouse for assistance. In relation to the court, some countries have a criminal electronic filing system. For example, in Rhode Island, bar members are required to file records and get a response concerning the status of their filled work. Montgomery County has a similar database. The fifth importance is that the database saves on costs. Instead of having to purchase writing materials to record the information, computer database is used instead. In addition, other costs like that of transportation to another state or county to access criminal history records are reduced. The sixth importance is that the portals can be used to request for services and file reports on criminal misconducts. This would be beneficial to the citizens. Services such as checking for eligibility status for certificates of merit, traffic offences details and lost and stolen goods are provided. Moreover, reports on stolen and lost items and common crimes in the neighborhood can be recorded online for police to look into. An example of such e-service portal is that of the Singapore police force.  Lastly, having the portal would simplify the work of the police and law enforcers. Having all criminal information on one site for purposes of follow ups, investigation and referencing is easier. For example, when one wants to run the name of a suspect in an ongoing murder investigation, if he has committed previous crimes then it will be indicated. Criminals are known to have a pattern. Details of previous crimes could be similar to the crime being investigated, hence narrowing down to the suspect. Running the name also provides information on where to find the suspect. Any fingerprint collected at the scene of crime could be scanned to see if it matches the suspects too.

In conclusion, having an electrical portal of criminal records would be beneficial. It is technology that should be learnt and adapted for the ease of work. Lastly, staff members could be trained on how to operate the various different portals according to the states and countries.

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Author: Edna Mwangi

Edna Mwangi is a young God- Centered, energetic individual with a lovely persona, good at interactions and passionate in everything that I do. I work to better myself in every situation as I give my very best and also learn in the process. I am a Graduate of Moi University- Bachelor of Art (Penology and Security Studies). You can reach me on ceramwangi94@gmail.com

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