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.