Arizona Joins Coalition Calling On Congress To Fund Systems To Expunge Criminal Records

April 18, 2021

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is spearheading a coalition of 22 attorneys general from mostly blue states calling on Congress to provide federal funds for state systems and technology upgrades needed to expunge criminal justice records.

Brnovich and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine are heading up the campaign which includes the attorneys general of Colorado, Delaware, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

According to Brnovich, the money could help one-third of U.S. adults clear or expunge records of arrest or conviction.

The attorneys generals cite research which they say shows that automatic 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 as 30 million U.S. children—almost one in two kids—have at least one parent with a criminal record.”

The coalition sent a letter to Congress asking for the “investment” necessary to streamline record-sealing processes and make the justice system more cost-effective and more fair.

“An old criminal record shouldn’t be a life sentence, especially for those who have turned their lives around,” said Racine. “Unfortunately, far too many Americans remain cut off from job opportunities, education, and housing long after their arrests or convictions, preventing them from rebuilding their lives and supporting their families. We desperately need to modernize our justice systems. Implementing thoughtful ways to clear records would make the criminal justice system more efficient, more cost-effective, and most importantly, more just, helping expand opportunities for millions of Americans and their families.”

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