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Learn more and share about why this issue is so important right now.
Help us spread the word about National Day of Civic Hacking and the powerful impact record clearance can have on the lives of those who are eligible. The more the public knows about this important issue, the greater support we can garner for yearlong efforts around the country.
- Nearly 40 states have record expungement laws on the books.
- Studies estimate fewer than 10% of those eligible for record clearance have received it.
- Expungement can help boost wages by 20%.
- Expungement reduces recidivism.
Why Record Clearance?
An estimated 77 million people have criminal records in our country — that’s 1 in 3 Americans. A criminal record can have life-altering consequences beyond the incident itself. It may be difficult to find and keep a job, secure housing, obtain a student loan, or even volunteer in your child’s school.
Nearly 40 states have existing state laws that allow a person with a criminal record to petition their local court and remove, or “clear,” their past from public record. These record clearance laws are often not used, because people don’t know they exist and find the court petition-based process overwhelming, costly, and complicated to navigate. Studies estimate less than 10% of people eligible for record relief, have received it.
The truth is, when it’s too hard or costly for citizens to exercise a right or opportunity, it’s not that different from denying that right or opportunity.
However, people who get expungements tend to thrive. A recent study from the University of Michigan found that within a year, on average, their wages go up by more than 20 percent. In that same study, researchers also found that those whose records get cleared don’t go back to jail — expungement reduces recidivism.