This chapter aims to introduce the reader to the subject matter of the book, which is the retention and use of previous criminal record information. In this digital age, where everyone can access information about anyone at the click of a button, knowledge of someone’s criminal past hardly seems surprising. Having a criminal record becomes a lifelong tag which, fair or not, must be borne by its recipient. This book explores the implications of such and poses the question as to whether a lifelong criminal record is always a proportionate response to criminal behaviour. This chapter outlines the main focus of the book, highlights the key themes integrated throughout, and sets up the areas under discussion throughout. It outlines the various chapters of the book, setting up the areas under discussion where criminal record becomes a factor. It aims to do this by examining the laws and policies operating throughout the criminal justice system and beyond that permit the use of criminal history information.
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