PA Advances Bill to Seal Minor Criminal Records

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A first-of-its-kind bill that would seal criminal records for minor offenses passed unanimously in Pennsylvania’s Senate, reports The measure moves to the State House, where there is less support. Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to sign the legislation. “By automatically removing the stain of a criminal record for nonviolent misdemeanors after the person has remained crime-free for 10 years, Pennsylvania is leading the nation on policies that will reduce recidivism and open doors for those who have turned their lives around,” said Holly Harris of the national Justice Action Network.

Under the legislation, misdemeanor records would be sealed after 10 years in which an individual was crime-free. Records of arrests that did not result in conviction also would be sealed. People who committed violent offenses, or those related to indecent exposure, weapons violations, corruption of minors, or cruelty to animals would not be able to have their records sealed. In all cases, law enforcement would still have access to sealed records.

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