Expungement Bill Dies In Committee………Again

Alabama Expungement Bill Fails to Pass in 2013

House Bill 56, the Alabama expungement bill failed to make it out of the judiciary committee of the Alabama House.  Despite the dire need for such legislation, and what appeared to be stronger support than in past years, the Alabama legislature has shown once again that we are not quite ready to move into line with most all other states. Reasons for an expungement law in Alabama are many.  Probably the most obvious is the link between having an arrest or conviction record and the ability to obtain employment.  This is important not only from the prospective of someone who is charged criminally then acquitted, but is equally important to those who are convicted, serve time and are released. It is plainly obvious that a person whose charges are either dropped, dismissed, or acquitted should not have to have the stigma of the arrest lingering on the record for the rest of their days.

The importance of a mechanism for expungement for those convicted and later released is shown in a a September 2011 Report  from the University of Missouri  Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs a strong case is made that a combination of education and employment has measurable impact on whether or not a person will succeed once released from a jail sentence.  The report is authored by Jake Cronin, a policy analyst at the institution.

According to the report, there was a very strong relationship between employment and recidivism.

Recidivism rates were nearly cut in half for inmates with a full-time job compared to this who are unemployed – Jake Cronin – Univ. of Missouri Institute of Public Policy

According to the Report, employment proves to be the strongest predictor of not returning to prison.  Equally plain to me is the link between the ability to compete for employment in the marketplace and the detrimental effect of having a criminal record.

Granted, expungement is not appropriate for every conviction.  There are certainly those convictions that warrant a permanent mark on the record.  However, it is equally true that many offenders with minor charges and convictions would be greatly aided by an Alabama expungement law.

Equally apparent to me is the link between

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