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house Bill H.R. 1672

Should Young, Non-Violent Offenders Have a Chance To Expunge Their Records?

Argument in favor

A criminal record can ruin a person’s life, and the criminal justice system already imprisons far too many people for non-violent offenses. These reforms will help people turn their lives around.

Alis's Opinion
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08/08/2015
We need to lay off insane punitive policies. They are totally counterproductive!
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Scott's Opinion
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08/07/2015
Children and young adult teens often lack the mental development to fully understand the ramifications of their actions. A non political process, similar to the parole process, could be set up to expunge those records from any public knowledge. I'd still want law enforcement to have court ordered access to those records, but it should be legal for the juvenile criminal
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jeff's Opinion
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08/07/2015
If young people can do this than anyone with the same record should have the same options.
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Argument opposed

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Criminal behavior results in a criminal record — people should consider their future careers and housing situations before committing crimes.

John's Opinion
···
08/08/2015
No. Misdemeanors, yes. But not for felony convictions. And ABSOLUTELY NOT for drug distribution and sales. The age of the youth was already taken into consideration at their trial and sentencing. Being young is no excuse and the young of today are not the naive, innocent kids of the 50's, 60's and 70's. They KNOW what they are doing and deserve the ramifications.
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Gopin2020's Opinion
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08/07/2015
Many don't think how their actions will affect them years later. If you're not prepared to accept the consequences don't break the law in the first place
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RedPiano1's Opinion
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08/16/2015
One part (of many) in this bill makes sense: allow adults after-the-fact to petition the Court to have juvenile (nonviolent) records expunged, which takes this to a case by case basis and allows provisions for re-opening said records. The rest of the bill conveniently hides too much information if enacted as written.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations
      Committee on Agriculture
      Worker and Family Support
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Committee on Ways and Means
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 26th, 2015

What is House Bill H.R. 1672?

This bill would create a process for sealing or expunging the records of those convicted of non-violent criminal or juvenile offenses.

Under this bill, juvenile records could be sealed (placed under highly restricted access) and/or expunged (removed from record). This bill mandates the automatic expungement of records for young people who commit non-violent crimes before turning 15. After young people turn 15, this bill would automatically seal records for those who have committed non-violent crimes.

Adults who commit non-violent crimes would be able to petition a court to seal their criminal record. Courts considering petitions to seal nonviolent offenses would have to balance factors like the how much the protected information could harm a person's ability to secure and maintain employment.

States would be incentivized to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old. The bill also gives states incentives to preference Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant applications where 18 or older is the age of original jurisdiction for adult criminal courts.

The use of solitary confinement on juveniles would be restricted except in extreme circumstances: when it's necessary to protect a juvenile detainee or those around them.

This bill would lift the ban on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for low-level drug offenders. Access to benefits would also be restored for those convicted of drug use, possession, and distribution crimes — provided their offense was related to a substance abuse problem and have received treatment. It would be illegal to deny assistance and benefits, including employment services, to a convicted individual, if they:

  • Have completed, are participating in, or agree to enroll in a substance treatment abuse program.

  • Are pregnant or a custodial parent.

  • Are suffering from a serious illness.

  • Comply with the terms of their sentence for the conviction.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) would have to establish procedures for the prompt release of records for employers requesting FBI background checks. Before background checks for employment, housing or credit applications can be completed, DOJ would have to get the person in question's consent. The person whose record is being requested would have the opportunity to challenge the accuracy and completeness of their records. There would be a prohibition on exchanges of records regarding:

  • An arrest more than two years before a record request if the record does not also include the disposition of that arrest.

  • Non-serious offenses, like drunkenness, vagrancy, loitering, disturbing the peace, or curfew violations.

  • Circumstances that are not clearly arrests or dispositions.

Impact

People whose criminal records could be sealed or expunged, or want to challenge the accuracy of a background check; juveniles that are detained; entities requesting FBI background checks; states with an age of criminal responsibility below 18 years; and the Department of Justice.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1672

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Somewhere between 70 and 100 million Americans have a criminal record of some sort. With 87 percent of employers conducting criminal background checks in their application process, having a criminal record can be problematic when you're looking for a job. 


And even those Americans without a criminal record can be denied jobs because of the background check process. The National Employment Law Project found that about
50 percent of all FBI background checks are either incomplete or don’t have information about the final outcome of an arrest.

There are also significant racial disparities in overall arrest and incarceration rates, in particular with young people — African-Americans represent 44 percent of youths detained by law enforcement, and 58 percent of all young people admitted into state prisons.

This bill has four House cosponsors, and a bipartisan Senate companion sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Robert Stringer)

AKA

Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act of 2015

Official Title

To provide for the sealing or expungement of records relating to Federal nonviolent criminal offenses, and for other purposes.

    We need to lay off insane punitive policies. They are totally counterproductive!
    Like (31)
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    No. Misdemeanors, yes. But not for felony convictions. And ABSOLUTELY NOT for drug distribution and sales. The age of the youth was already taken into consideration at their trial and sentencing. Being young is no excuse and the young of today are not the naive, innocent kids of the 50's, 60's and 70's. They KNOW what they are doing and deserve the ramifications.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Children and young adult teens often lack the mental development to fully understand the ramifications of their actions. A non political process, similar to the parole process, could be set up to expunge those records from any public knowledge. I'd still want law enforcement to have court ordered access to those records, but it should be legal for the juvenile criminal
    Like (19)
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    Ever hear the phrase young and stupid?
    Like (11)
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    If young people can do this than anyone with the same record should have the same options.
    Like (8)
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    I'm concerned about certain aspects of this bill, but it's a step in the right direction. It's awfully hard to turn your life around when no one will hire you for a mistake when you were 14.
    Like (6)
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    Many don't think how their actions will affect them years later. If you're not prepared to accept the consequences don't break the law in the first place
    Like (4)
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    Good start. Next add adults.
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    One part (of many) in this bill makes sense: allow adults after-the-fact to petition the Court to have juvenile (nonviolent) records expunged, which takes this to a case by case basis and allows provisions for re-opening said records. The rest of the bill conveniently hides too much information if enacted as written.
    Like (3)
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    We all make mistakes. look what we have In Washington DC Half of them are crooks and have records. We have those who break the law and the DOJ never touches them. Washington needs to clean up they garbage young people need programs to guild them not jail. Our laws are messed up
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    To many people in prison for no real good reason!!
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    Many young people make terrible mistakes due to their youth and daring. They come out of prison, paid their debt to society and go on to live decent lives. If they have not gotten in trouble for a specified time, yes, their rights should be restored.
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    If you don't hurt anybody else it's not the definition of a crime
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    If I was looking to hire someone to handle my company's money I would want to know if that person stole from the cash register they were working at. It was a nonviolent crime and I should have access to that information when considering hiring someone. Just because the crime was nonviolent doesn't mean the criminal won't do it again. The criminal class deserves whatever they get
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    You tell me do the time for the crime!
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    How about giving people a chance to overcome their situations. If all someone did is petty crimes and they clean up why punish them?
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    This is for juveniles under 15. This is for non-violent offenses. I think that a mistake under these conditions shouldn't haunt you for the rest of your life.
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    I agree with shorter sentences and such for non-violent offenders, but the fact you sold drugs (among other things) should stay with you for a long time. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
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    Not for drug violations of any kind and remember the old tv show motto. 'don't do the crime if can;t do the time". Time means the consequences for your actions.
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    Parental guidance would carry more weight if kids had it brought home to their unthinking little minds that serious juvenile and young adult rap sheets would indeed remain as their cumulative record of misdeeds. Responsibility shouldn't require training wheels or training pants.
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