As you may well know, if you are in need of such a thing, you can access the arrest records of a person or an organization. If you don’t know where from, keep in mind that you can get them through various government agencies for a nominal fee. But what about free arrest records? Is it a reality? Or a complete scam?
The truth is that there is the possibility of getting free arrest records. Where? Private companies, of course. In the last few years, this industry has thrived considerably. All of this because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). They take already free information from public arrest records/other sources, and they post it online.
After FOIA, the requests for information has increased dramatically. Everyone has found themselves with a new right and decided to use it. Actually, beyond use. Better said abused. Why do I say this? Let me explain it to you.
I know that sometimes there is the necessity of having some background information about someone. But this should be due to exceptional circumstances (job application, special licensing and stuff like that). But regular people gaining access to free arrest records? That’s a bit too far.
Although I have to admit that most criminals will continue to commit crimes (that’s what statistics say, not myself), there are people who will not. And they want to have the opportunity of starting a new life. They want their past behind. Buried. But no! Here come private companies that offer free arrest records. There are records that you must pay for, but still.
I agree with FOIA. There is a legitimate need of information. But what happens when it goes too far? What happens to a young man/woman who did a bad thing but isn’t a bad guy/gal? He/she will not get a good job. He/she will be an outcast. His/her chance at a better life would be stolen by the highest bidder. What will he/she do? Quite possibly will be returning to a life of crimes (again statistics).
One thing that makes me happy is the part with the sex offenders. In this situation, free arrest records sound pretty good. I know that there is a national registry for sex offenders, but you never know, right? The safety of our children should be an absolute priority.
These being said, there is a whole controversy around the access to free criminal records. The opinions are both pro and against. Each of them with their own arguments. But in the end, this a subjective matter. Everyone is free to believe what they want and do what they want with their freedom of information.
It is true that there are third party companies which offer both free arrest records (to a certain extent), and records for a certain fee (depending on the extent of the requested information). If this is a good thing or not, I will let each and every one of you decide. You are the only one able to decide what is best for you (and your family if you have one).