Clean Slate Proposed for KY's Nonviolent Juvenile Offenders
Thursday, March 17, 2016
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Giving Kentucky youth who have committed a nonviolent offense a clean slate when they turn 18 is the idea behind a new bill in the Kentucky Senate.
Young people who committed violent or sex crimes would not be eligible. But Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says clearing or sealing an 18-year-old's juvenile nonviolent records would give them a fresh start.
"The impact that a juvenile offense has on a college application, entering the military, getting a job, is pretty profound," says Brooks.
For an 18 year old, the legislation would automatically expunge records of nonviolent offenses committed before age 15, if the young person didn't get into trouble again. And it would seal records of nonviolent offenses that happened at ages 15 through 17.
Brooks says the current system in Kentucky for getting juvenile records wiped away is inequitable.
"Youth expungement happens a lot already if you have money and can afford fees, or if you have money and you have a really a good attorney," says Brooks.
Amanda Mullins Bear is managing attorney at the Children's Law Center, which helps youth transition into adulthood. She says making expungement more readily available is consistent with the juvenile courts' goal of rehabilitation.
"As we've learned more about about developmental differences between kids and adults, and adolescent brain development, there's been a growing interest in providing greater protections to kids," says Mullins Bear.
Brooks says the biggest challenge for the legislation will be answering public safety concerns raised by some lawmakers.
"We're not talking about a juvenile who's raped a peer," he says. "We're not talking about being 'soft on crime,' we're talking about being smart about crime."
The proposal would still give law enforcement access to sealed records for investigations, prosecutions and security clearances.
get more stories like this via email
North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …
Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…
A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …
Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…
Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …
Health and Wellness
New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …
Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …