It is estimated that one in every three Americans has a criminal record. For some, that record can be a barrier to employment, housing and even volunteering. But that could change soon in Washington state if any of three proposals before the state Legislature are approved.
New York does not allow for the expungement of criminal records, but a two-year-old law permits some individuals to seal files for certain crimes after a decade has passed since a person's sentencing or the end of their prison term. Advocates behind a new campaign, called Clean Slate New York, argue that the law is underused and does not help reintegrate convicted criminals back into society, stripping them of employment, housing and other opportunities.
There is a bipartisan movement under way across the country to clean old criminal records. Last year lawmakers from both parties in Pennsylvania—nudged by an odd-bedfellows coalition of left-leaning activists, unions, chambers of commerce, Koch Industries and others—voted overwhelmingly to be the first state to do so. In June it started sealing over 30m records, and will soon be finished. That spurred others.
The Michigan House approved Tuesday with wide-ranging support a bipartisan seven-bill package that would clear the criminal records of many Michigan ex-offenders.
The Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation that would expand who's eligible for criminal record expungement and create a system to automate the process for certain offenses.
The Michigan House passed legislation Tuesday that would overhaul expungement laws to make it easier for hundreds of thousands of people to clear their criminal record, including those convicted of marijuana offenses before the drug’s legalization for recreational use.