Criminal records are legally documented offences against the law; they accompany every individual. Different countries have different criteria for penning down these offences. Most countries consider only proven offences as worth documenting while others mark unproven and false allegations as significant as well. The latter approach has been heavily criticized as an outrageous violation of human rights: critics say that to mar a man’s reputation in writing, especially for charges that were proven to be wrong, is highly wrong.
Multiple countries use multiple approaches. In Australia, for instance, criminal records are viewable by the person concerned. If an application is submitted to the local police, the law states that every person has the right to view his own records.
United Kingdom, on the other hand, takes on a more conservative approach. About three organizations are responsible for overseeing the affairs of criminal records. These records are not made available to the public, unless explicit consent of the person concerned is obtained. A relaxation, however, has been made for the employment companies. They have access to the records; however, it is taken in writing that the motive is solely to assess a person’s eligibility for the employment.
Brazilian approach is based upon identifying a person with a criminal history at one glance. Thus, such people have their identity cards stamped with special marks.
In Germany, criminal records become official only when the federal government gives approval. Local police documentation holds no significance if the federal government does not make it official.
USA has, perhaps, one of the best systems for documenting criminal records. This system starts at the lowest tier, at the local police stations and climbs through the smaller and higher law enforcement agencies into the very heart of government. It is for this reason that an offence once written in USA sticks for life, and it also explains why the United States of America has least loopholes in its system as compared to other countries. There is, however, one bizarre approach: USA law allows the records to go public, literally, via the internet or the television media. A checkpoint, nevertheless, has been placed here. These records are visible to the adults only, and juveniles are denied access. This is the reason why criminal stories have PG letters flashing over them, and why certain sites require age verification before they allow you access to their information.