Second Chance Reforms in 2017: Roundup of New Expungement and Restoration laws

Published by: Collateral Consequences Resource Center. Published in December 2017.

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In 2017, 23 states passed laws that assist individuals with criminal records in the workplace. These laws help ensure a second chance and a smooth transition back into the workforce by placing restrictions on public access and employer inquiries to criminal history. For example, ten of these states passed “ban-the-box” laws that restrict employer inquiries into criminal history at preliminary stages of the hiring process.

12 states including New York, Montana, Illinois, and Nevada passed or expanded record-sealing laws that make it easier for individuals to apply and have their records sealed or expunged. Additionally, seven states revised their juvenile expungement laws in 2017 to allow the bill’s provisions to be more broadly accessible.

Little research has been done yet to speak to the effectiveness of these reforms due to the rapid rate at which these laws are changing. However, the passage of these laws is helping to secure equal justice for people looking to begin a fresh start after prison.

Categories: Employment, Employment, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Reentry, Reentry

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