Why are these particular files being released?

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Why are these particular files being released?

Criminal cases were selected for release as they were believed most likely to attract a wide range of interest and also to have been under-used because they were largely subject to 100-year closure. Under present criteria, criminal case files are opened when they are 30 years old (in line with related court records) unless they contain sensitive personal information. Prison files in particular are liable to contain medical and domestic details which it would be inappropriate to release during the lifetime of the prisoner or, occasionally, their immediate family. This accounts for the date range of the files being released.

The original scope of the project was "capital cases" but this proved too wide a field so the Home Office opted to focus on women murderers. This acknowledged the increasing popularity of "women's history" as an academic subject and the continuing general interest in women who kill - such as Ruth Ellis and Myra Hindley. (Ellis's files are already at The National Archives; it is hoped that Hindley's files will be ready for transfer from the Prison Service for opening at the National Archives in 2005).