LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 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.
Nessel says the funds would help some of the nearly 70 million Americans – one-third of U.S. adults – clear or expunge records of arrest or conviction, according to a news release Friday.
Her office also says research shows record clearing could regain “billions in lost economic activity for eligible people by clearing the way for secondary education, job opportunities, professional licensing and stable housing.”
It would also help children and families since almost half of all children living in the U.S. have at least one parent with a criminal record.
“The current expungement system is time-consuming and confusing,” Nessel said. “We must modernize expungement technology and give individuals the second chance they deserve.”
Most states have laws in place to seal or clear certain arrest or conviction records for people who have demonstrated they’ve been reformed.
However, according to the coalition of attorneys general, only a small fraction of Americans are able to navigate that process, which they described as time-consuming, confusing and expensive.
The group of state and territorial attorneys are asking for the investment needed to streamline record-sealing processes and “make the justice system more cost-effective and fairer.”
Read the full letter from the coalition here.