A new bill in KY legislature simplifies expungement process
A new bill has been introduced in the Kentucky Legislature, House Bill 589, that simplifies the process of having criminal records expunged for people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or class C felony that does not involve violence, sex, a child victim, or public corruption.Under current Kentucky law, such individuals are eligible for expungement after the completion of their sentence and a five-year crime-free period. Unfortunately, a confusing and sometimes burdensome process prevents many people who are eligible from having their records expunged.
The Center for Opportunity’s take: “This bill does not change the crimes for which expungement is eligible nor the requirements of a crime free period once the sentence is completed. Everyone who will benefit from this bill is a non-violent offender who has made it clear their interest is in re-entering civil society,” said Josh Crawford, director of criminal justice initiatives for the Center for Opportunity.
“Importantly, prior convictions can be impediments to finding meaningful work. This matters for two reasons. The first and more important is that meaningful work, in particular the amount of time someone spends working in a job and building a work community, significantly reduce the likelihood that person will recidivate. Reducing recidivism means less crime and fewer victims. Second, Kentucky has one of the worst labor force participation rates in the country. With such a large percentage of our population having a criminal conviction, we cannot afford to exclude from the labor force those who are attempting to turn their lives around and live on the straight and narrow. Kentucky business benefits from an engaged and motivated workforce — those who have earned an expungement under Kentucky law are these exact kind of employees.”