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Public Records in Criminal Justice



Welcome! The following guide is a collection of library resources, important cases, and outside resources dedicated to the topic of using public records in criminal justice. A recorded version of the September 2023 public records workshop is also included.

Warning: This guide contains graphic content

General Tips

. Beginning researchers should start with family tree genealogy since that is the best way to get familiar with the process of double checking documentation for accuracy and learning the format of public records research databases such as

. As a researcher becomes more advanced, looking into murderers and other offenders is recommended. More information is available about criminals' lives since they are often more publicized than "regular" people, and criminal legal cases and related information are not only public record but are more easily available/easy to find.

. In addition, offenders are very important to the history of Indiana and the Midwest when considering public records and regional history. 

. Investigating Unidentified Remains and Missing Persons are the most difficult, but also vital. Public records are frequently used to narrow down potential identity matches, or for missing persons, look through social media to see where they hung out, people who might be suspicious that they know, or beyond that, look for offender lists in the area.