The Wisconsin Justice Initiative on Wednesday lent its support to a bipartisan bill that would reform Wisconsin's criminal record expunction process:
“This is a good first step in criminal justice reform in Wisconsin. It is much-needed and positive legislation," WJI Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt said. "We hope that bipartisan cooperation continues when it comes to other measures that will reduce mass incarceration and the burdensome collateral consequences of criminal convictions."
The bill would eliminate the existing discriminatory provision that a person must be under the age of 25 when he or she committed the crime to have the record qualify for expungement. Current law also requires that the presiding judge, at the time of sentencing, find the offense eligible for expungement.
The bill would allow an offender, after completing his or her sentence, to petition the court for expungement. The bill also would retroactively apply to people convicted before the bill's adoption.
The bill also would allow a sentencing judge to order that an offender's record not be eligible for expungement.
Records of crimes carrying a penalty of six years in prison or less would be eligible for expunction, though records for some crimes, including violent crimes, would not be eligible.
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