A civil criminal record

There are two conflicting ideas in criminal law

  1. The commit a crime. Do your punishment. After you complete your penance you are free to live a normal life again. You have paid your debt, and the crime is expunged. You are a free and innonent man again.
  2. A criminal is a criminal forever. We need to keep records on them, so people can avoid them. As a side-effect, they are ostricised from some of society and unable to do certain things, forever.

Of course, in real legal systems it’s a mess, a mix of these two ideas (both of them a bit naive anyway, to be honest) and many others.

But the kernel of good from them can be taken and used.

What I propose is like a criminal record, but for people who have never been convicted of a crime.

It is for anybody who has committed a crime, but for whatever reason has not been punished. I’m thinking for example of all the people who maim or murder, and whose crime is in the newspaper for a day or two then forgotten.

If the crime has been documented (for example in the media) and is not just a slander, it is added to a publicly searchable list. The definition of “crime” is (as always) flexible. It’s up to the people making the list to define it. So the list would be maintained probably by a non-profit org set up exclusively for this.

That theire names are known and remembered, and their crimes recorded forever - it could be a small dicincentive for people to do crime, for those who normally have none.


This is the kind of person who should be in the list. Cases where there is no doubt about the facts of the matter, and where people in dealings with him should be forewarned about his character.

In his case, he is infamous now, so he will presumable never work again. But there must be many cases where people like him continue to work and do damage, because people will trust his authority, where they need to be warned that he is a criminal liar.

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