One-third of Americans Have Records of Arrest or Prior Conviction, Creating Barriers to Employment, Education, Housing & Economic Opportunity
PHOENIX -- Attorney General Mark Brnovich co-led a bipartisan coalition of 22 attorneys general urging Congress to provide federal funds for state systems and technology upgrades needed to seal and expunge criminal justice records.
These funds could help some of the nearly 70 million Americans – one-third of U.S. adults – clear or expunge records of arrest or conviction. Research shows that automatic record clearing could regain billions in lost economic activity for eligible people by paving the way for secondary education, job opportunities, professional licensing, and stable housing. It would also help children and families as 30 million U.S. children --- almost one in two kids—have at least one parent with a criminal record.
“This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a basic matter of fairness," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Those sincerely living their lives within the law deserve the chance to compete for good jobs to support themselves and their families.”
Nearly every state has laws in place to seal or clear certain arrest or conviction records for people who have demonstrated that they have been reformed. However, only a small fraction of eligible Americans can navigate the time-consuming, confusing, and expensive processes of getting their records cleared or sealed. The coalition is asking for the investment necessary to streamline record-sealing processes and make the justice system more cost-effective and more fair.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich co-led this letter with the District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine, and they were joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Delaware, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.