Proposed law looks to expand criminal expungement eligibility

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WAUSAU (WAOW) — A chance at a clean slate could be on the way for people with criminal records in the badger state.

Right now, expungement must be a condition of sentencing and only people under the age of 25 are eligible. A proposed law would remove the age limit and allow judges to grant expungement after a sentence has been served.

Expungement is only granted to non-violent and non-sexual, low-level crimes.

The executive director of Clean Slate Milwaukee, Shanyeill McCloud, said the law would help those struggling to find jobs because of the minor offenses they carry with them.

“Where it says check this book if you ever been arrested, if you’ve ever been convicted. Depending on the corporation, you’ve just check yourself out of a job,” McCloud said. She added that it will also help remove barriers to find housing and apply to schools.

McCloud said that the current requirements for expungement especially hurt women, who typically go into jobs where a criminal record would take precedent over a resume.

State Representative Pat Snyder said he believes the proposed law would provide a second chance for many people. He said providing job training programs in jails and prisons is also an important step to making sure people are successful outside of the criminal justice system.

“We need to make sure that they’re ready to get back into our state and our environment with a good career,” Snyder said.

According to Snyder, not only would this legislation benefit people in the criminal justice system, but would also mean more people going to work and paying taxes across the state.

Sarah McGrew

Sarah McGrew

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