Prisons have become a big for-profit business in America. The estimates of how many Americans have a criminal record would make it appear that a significant portion of the population lives criminal lives. The truth is that some people made bad decisions decades ago, followed the wrong crowd or just found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The rush to incarcerate has begun to cost private businesses and government agencies access to a talented workforce. This has compelled governments in the U.S. to reconsider how they approach crime and sentencing. One example of this is a new law proposed by Kentucky to expunge Class D felony offenses from a person’s record in certain situations.
In early 2019, U.S. News reported that Kentucky had passed the felony expungement bill. The bill passed with a vote of 32 to two and would later move on to the House. This bill would allow residents to apply to have the state remove certain low-level convictions from their records. For many people, this could mean a 100% clean state to pursue opportunities they were previously held back from.
While it presented an amazing opportunity, it was no free for all. There are several safeguards in place:
- Prosecutors and crime victims may object to the expungement.
- People convicted of violent crimes, crimes causing serious injuries, crimes involving children and sexual offenses remained exempt.
- There would be a multi-year waiting period before Kentuckians could apply.
- The final decision remained with a judge.
By the summer of 2019, WDRB confirmed that the bill had become law and already took effect. It also states that the process is remarkably easy, provided that people who apply do not meet opposition along the way.