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Criminal Records in the Digital Age: A Review of Current Practices and Recommendations for Reform in Texas

“It is time to broaden the reentry discussion and take a comprehensive look at how criminal records are accessed, disseminated, and utilized in this digital age and to find ways to make the criminal justice system more effective at providing meaningful opportunities for successful and lasting reintegration into our communities” (p. 2). This report explains how access to criminal records can damage efforts for successful reentry and provides suggestions on how to solve this challenge. Eight sections follow an executive summary: introduction; the problem-criminal records and collateral consequences; an outdated system-open access to criminal records; why people care-public safety and liability reconsidered; how criminal records are accessed and used in Texas; examples of other states’ efforts to limit access to and use of criminal records; ten recommendations; and conclusion.