Advocates for the sealing of criminal records are pushing to expand the set of records eligible for sealing and to leverage technology to make sealing automatic – or the enactment of “Clean Slate” policies. While those in favor of these measures aim to create policies that will make it easier for people to have paid their dues to find jobs and build rewarding lives, evidence suggests the policies won’t work and, in fact, could cause more harm than good. Ban the Box policies have been found to not directly address employers’ concerns about safety and fit for the job, leaving employers to make guesses, and incentivizing them to discriminate against applicants from those who have past criminal convictions. The Clean Slate Initiative could have similar results, leading to broader, race-based discrimination if record-sealing effectively hides criminal records that employers want to see, but the legislation might not be effective at hiding evidence of criminal justice involvement or correcting the inaccurate information circulating on the internet. Other promising alternatives exist, including to centralize criminal record data and improve accuracy; broaden the use of deferred adjudications for non-violent, first-time felony offenses; and invest in rehabilitation and training.

 

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Post By Ken Shafton (698 Posts)