A recent article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that lawmakers are pushing for legislation expunging low-level offender records. Under the old legislature, a judge determined an offender's eligibility for expungement during sentencing.
The new legislation lets judges decide after offenders complete their sentences. This move helps offenders avoid a rash or harsh decision by the judge, especially when additional details emerge.
While the law is only legible for residents of Wisconsin, other states are also following suit. One example is Pennsylvania’s amendments to the Clean Slate Law that seals criminal records from the public for nonviolent misdemeanors. These changes can help thousands of people find jobs and become productive members of their community once again.
Criminal Justice Reforms Needed
Criminal justice reform is essential to boost communities and improve people's lives, especially for first-time or minor offenders.
When people commit crimes, their punishment doesn't end with a prison sentence or fine. They must also deal with the implications of a criminal record, which adversely impacts their future and freedom.
How Communities Benefit
One of the main obstacles for a person with a criminal record is finding employment after incarceration, especially since most well-paying jobs require a background check. However, it's harder to find a job nowadays as the economy is still on the road to recovery due to COVID-19.
A criminal record comes with a heavy stigma, and in many places around the US, they are still taboo. As a result, employers would prefer not to hire people with a record, even for low-level crimes. Without a stream of income, the likelihood of re-committing crimes increases, and a cycle of incarceration begins.
If minor offenders receive an expungement, their quality of life immediately improves, and their communities benefit. Some reasons why include:
- Enhancing public safety due to the decreased likelihood of recidivism
- Reduced probability of re-committing offenses
- Employment in a high-paying job or one that matches their skills
- Better housing opportunities
- Generating money for the state by paying taxes
- No longer needing public assistance
- Economic incentives for the state from increased spending
When states set an example for criminal justice reform and help nonviolent offenders regain footing in their lives, it creates opportunities and better communities. However, some people don't know if they are eligible for an expungement and need an attorney's help to kick start the process.
Hiring an Attorney
If you have a minor or nonviolent charge on your record, you may be eligible for expungement, or in the alternative, a record sealing. However, the process varies depending on your state, with unique requirements and limitations. That's why hiring a skilled attorney who thoroughly understands your state's expungement laws is in your best interest.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento helps you get your life back on track by working to expunge your record. From understanding Pennsylvania laws to navigating the legal process, attorney Lento is by your side.
Start the process of clearing or sealing your record in Pennsylvania and turn a new leaf through the expungement or limited access process. Call the Lento Law Firm today for expert legal advice at 888-535-3686.