House passes criminal justice reform 'expungement' legislation

-A A +A

House passes criminal justice reform 'expungement' legislation

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 12:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The House Judiciary Committee is focusing this year on proposals that increase Vermonters access to justice and address inequalities in the state’s criminal justice system. On Thursday, the House passed H171, a bill that expands Vermonters access to expungement on a vote of 88 to 51, after three amendments failed. This bill reduces waiting periods and modifies the requirements that must be met before an individual may petition the court for expungement.

“This bill protects the rights of crime victims and maintains public safety while providing an important reduction in the negative impacts on individuals in the criminal justice system. This improves Vermont’s economy and continues to develop and maintain a strong workforce, ensuring that we are on the right path for a strong and healthy future for Vermont” said Representative Maxine Grad.

“Vermonters who have pled guilty or are convicted often suffer collateral consequences such as limited access to licenses, jobs, public housing, and education in addition to their sentence. Expungement helps people who have fulfilled the terms and conditions of their sentences to move on with their lives and return to our communities as productive members of society” said Representative Martin LaLonde.

“Our goal with this reform is to grow the state’s economy and assist in developing and maintaining a strong state workforce” said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson. “This is a civil rights issue and is absolutely an issue of equity. Too often there are ongoing consequences for the same mistake that needlessly punish Vermonters and prevent them from full participation in society. Once someone has met their obligation, they should be able to move forward with their life.”

A link to the bill can be found here: http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.171

Source: Office of the Speaker 3.2.2017