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States Passed 152 Laws Last Year To Help People With Criminal Records

The campaign to improve the reintegration into society for those with criminal records "has seemed more than ever grounded in economic imperatives, as pandemic dislocations have brought home the need to support, train, and recruit workers who are essential to rebuilding the businesses that are the lifeblood of the economy," says the Collateral Consequences Resource Center in its annual report. The center says that, " If there is any one thing that will end unwarranted discrimination against people with a criminal history, it is a recognition that it does not pay." The center says that 40 states, Washington, D.C., and the federal government enacted 152 bills to restore rights to restore rights and opportunities to people with records


Among the actions, 36 states passed 93 laws on public access to individual criminal records. Most laws established or expanded laws authorizing expungement, sealing, or set-aside of convictions or arrest records. Several states enacted judicial record clearing laws for the first time, and a number of states authorized “clean slate” automatic clearing. Executive pardoning was revived in several states where it had been dormant. Seventeen states enacted 26 laws regulating employment and occupational licensing, and more than a dozen other states enacted laws improving access to housing, education, driver’s licenses, and public benefits. Fur states took steps to restore voting rights on release from prison.

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