A Cleveland, Ohio legislator — supported by the state’s prisons chief — wants to allow repeat felons who have recently stayed out of trouble to hide their convictions so that they can search for work without being judged by their criminal records, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. State Senator Shirley Smith, a Democrat , calls the records-sealing proposal a “second chance bill” or a “jobs bill.”
Under current law, first-time offenders can apply to have their felony or misdemeanor convictions sealed, which means all police and court evidence and records related to a charge or conviction are unavailable to the public. Smith’s bill would make anyone eligible to shield his or her criminal past – regardless of the number of convictions – as long as the person has not been arrested or convicted of a crime for the last five years. Prosecutors and business leaders have vowed to oppose Smith’s effort, which they say would create a dangerous policy.