Criminal Record Expungement in the Big Data Age

New York, NY

Digitization of public records means criminal records have a broader dissemination than ever before. Data brokers and websites have capitalized on this massive set of records, duplicating and spreading them across the Internet. At the same time, states have increasingly been adopting “clean slate” policies to expand criminal record sealing and expungement. Using empirical data from New Jersey, this presentation discusses the difficulties of expunging a record in the digital age and offers possibilities for policy reform. 


Sarah Lageson is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers University-Newark School of Criminal Justice. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota in 2015. She studies public access to criminal justice data, error in criminal record databases, and associated issues with punishment, Constitutional rights, and inequality. Sarah’s current research examines the growth of online crime data that remains publicly available, creating new forms of “digital punishment."