Criminal convictions can have numerous negative impacts on individuals, even years after they’ve completed their prison sentence. Long after a person has “paid their debt to society.” Expungement and record-sealing policies allow people to clean up their records and have a conviction expunged or sealed. After a conviction is expunged, they’re not required to be disclosed on job applications, which can have positive impacts on an individual’s employment prospects. To provide maximal benefit, expungement provisions should apply to a broad range of nonviolent offense types. Waiting periods should be short to ensure that expungements are helpful while an individual is attempting to rebuild their life post-incarceration. The process should also be simple to encourage widespread usage.1
Broad expungement provisions
What types of offenses are eligible for expunction, and how many offenses can be expunged?
How long must individuals wait before applying for an expungement?
Are records sealed or expunged automatically after a period of time, or are individuals required to apply? Are applications granted when all conditions are met or can system actors block expunctions?
1. CCSD 50 State Survey: https://ccresourcecenter.org/state-restoration-profiles/50-state-comparisonjudicial-expungement-sealing-and-set-aside/