YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 61

Expungement of Criminal Record Origin: Pennsylvania State Legislature Bill Name/Number: House Bill No. 1425 Link: Click here YEO Sponsor: Representative Jordan Harris Summary: Introduced in June 2015, this bill would allow Pennsylvanians convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor to petition for the expungement of their criminal records. Talking Points & Important Information: • This bill would grant judges the power to partially seal criminal records if the petitioner was convicted of a second- or third-degree nonviolent misdemeanor. • The stigma of a criminal record is often enough to discourage an employer from hiring someone. Removing that stigma through expungement makes it easier for former felons to find work, reintegrate, and contribute to society. • Research from Stanford University, found that the benefits of criminal expungement far outweigh the costs. By expunging eligible records, municipalities can increase tax revenue and reduce public assistance payments. Furthermore, by increasing economic independence, municipalities can see a drop in recidivism. • For those who fell through the cracks of the school-to-prison pipeline, criminal expungement is a much needed second chance at life. Providing for the sealing or expungement of juvenile criminal records under certain circumstances would help create opportunities for young people to overcome or avoid many of the barriers that confront those with criminal records, including barriers to critical opportunities in employment, housing, and education. • For more on sentencing and expungement policies, click here. To see how expungement plays into the greater criminal justice reform agenda, click here. 2015 POLICY BOOK STATE INTRO LEVEL PAGE 61