Approved expungement bill will reduce crime, CCK says

Legislature-2016-sBy Marnie McAllister, Record Editor

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky (CCK) hailed the March 29 passage in the Kentucky General Assembly of a bill that allows convicted felons who have fulfilled their sentences to request that certain Class D felonies be expunged from their records.

Violent crimes and sexual offenses are excluded in the measure. Former felons may apply for expungement five years after the terms of their sentences, including parole, are fulfilled.

The Senate amended House Bill 40 and approved it in a 33 to 5 vote. The House, which approved it 80 to 11 in January, is expected to approve the Senate version.

Last week, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky urged the public to contact their legislators about the measure, which it said is good for the community.

“For decades, the U.S. bishops have called for a justice system that is more restorative, that enables an individual to re-enter the work force and civic life after a crime-free period,” the conference said. “This will not only enable people to find better employment and reengage in their communities, but will also reduce incentives to commit further crimes. The research is very clear that this type of legislation helps reduce crime over the long run.”

Kentucky Smart on Crime, a coalition to which the CCK belongs, said in a statement released after the Senate’s vote that the measure, which had bipartisan support,  is a smart approach to reducing crime.

“Our coalition has been focused on supporting measures that take a smart on crime approach,” said the coalition’s spokesman Russell Coleman. “We know the status quo simply isn’t working.  This measure seeks to save taxpayer dollars, reduce recidivism and make our communities safer.”

The coalition expects  House leaders to approve the amended bill and Gov. Matt Bevin to support it.

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