Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Legislation to Expunge Records for Nonviolent Juvenile Offenses

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bipartisan bill Thursday to give Americans who committed nonviolent offenses as children a second chance and a fresh start.

The bipartisan First Step Implementation Act of 2021 will give individuals who were convicted of nonviolent federal offenses as children the chance for a fresh start without a criminal record. The measure is co-sponsored by Georgia’s U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff.

The reforms addressing juvenile offenses would be retroactive, applying to people currently in prison and those sentenced in the future.

The legislation is now expected to head to the floor of the Senate for a full vote.

S. 1014, the First Step Implementation Act of 2021, would:

  • Allow eligible Americans who committed nonviolent offenses as children to clear their criminal records;
  • Allow courts to reduce sentences imposed on juvenile offenders who have served more than 20 years and are deemed by a judge after a comprehensive review not to be a danger to themselves or society;
  • Allow courts more flexibility to sentence below a mandatory minimum for non-violent drug offenses, if judges find that there is a low likelihood of recidivism; and
  • Require the Attorney General to establish procedures ensuring that only accurate criminal records are shared for employment-related purposes.

“A nonviolent juvenile offender shouldn’t be marked for life by a mistake they made or a bad situation they found themselves in as a child,” Ossoff said in a news release. “This bipartisan legislation will expunge the juvenile records of eligible nonviolent offenders, so Georgians who committed nonviolent federal offenses as children don’t face a lifetime of stigma and reduced opportunity. This is about second chances for young people, and I thank my colleagues for coming together to pass this bill out of committee.”

Find the text of the bill and the organizations that back the measure in The Georgia Virtue’s previous coverage on the bill.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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