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Attorney General Josh Stein Calls on Congress to Facilitate Second Chances

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Contact: Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

Seeks Faster Process to Seal and Expunge Criminal Records

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein called on Congress to provide federal funding to allow states to better seal and expunge criminal justice records. This investment is necessary to streamline record-sealing processes and make the justice system fairer and more cost-effective.

“When we place barrier after barrier in people’s path to successfully rebuild their lives post-incarceration, we fail them and we fail our communities,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “These funds will help us put in place the technology so people can easily get their records cleared or sealed, allowing them to get jobs, find homes, provide for their families, and build successful lives. I urge Congress to provide this funding, which will make communities safer and lower costs in the long run.”

Nearly every state, including North Carolina, 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 are able to navigate the time-consuming, confusing, and expensive process of getting their records cleared or sealed.

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. These upgrades would allow records to be automatically cleared and could help these Americans get an education, find jobs, obtain professional licenses, and find stable housing, ultimately creating stronger families and communities. The funds would regain billions in lost economic activity and help many of the 30 million U.S. children – almost one in two kids – who have at least one parent with a criminal record.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending this letter by the Attorneys General of the District of Columbia, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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