Conviction and Society

The Criminal Code of Ukraine contains Section XIII – «Criminal Record». Criminal record is an element of control for such concepts as: institute of criminal record; criminal record as a fact of convicting a person for the crime he committed; criminal record as the legal status of the convict; state of criminal records in society; the public mind concerning convicted persons. The article examines the content and purpose of mentioned structures, their relevance to contemporary state needs in fighting crime. Institute of criminal record – is a set of rules provided by the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which regulates relations arising in the implementation of criminal responsibility: the moment of criminal record emergence, the timing of its course, the conditions of its expunging and canceling, its general social penal consequences. Despite a number of legislative imperfections, within the strategy of intimidation it serves to achieve and maintain the goals of punishment. Conviction as a fact of convicting a person to criminal punishment may be considered from different points of view: as a happening of biography, sometimes of a personal «criminal career», or the moral reproach of the society, or the latter’s attitude towards the convict. For the particular person a criminal record may result into unfavorable consequences both on common and social levels and complicate his adaptation. Conviction as the legal status of the person indicates the existence of her relations with the state that are filled with certain content. The scope of rights and obligations, restrictions of individual freedoms is being defined. The state, on the one hand, distances itself from persons who have a criminal record, and on the other hand, seeks to correct and to reintegrate them into society, which is associated with considerable objective and subjective difficulties. The concept of «obtaining criminal record» includes quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the convicts’ entity in the country. During the period from 1991 to 2013 there was convicted more than 4 million people, i. e. almost every 10th–11th Ukrainian citizen has received a criminal record. 70 % of them had not been previously condemned. The increase of criminal potential in the country reflects harmfully on the material and spiritual life of the society. Concerning the public opinion, as a demonstration of mass consciousness towards the criminals, the respondents’ views differ: from the liberal ideas of humanization to more stringent treatment, as evidenced by a number of resonant cases in Ukraine. The fear of crime among the population becomes constantly present factor that leads to further crime latentiation and victimization. There has been proposed the following means to reduce the impact of criminal records on society: maximal reasonable decriminalization, reducing crime and the condition of criminal records, legislative regulation of its general social consequences, wider use of discretionary methods for responding to a range of socially dangerous manifestations, the adaptation of convicts’ legal status to the European standards.