Connecticut law currently does not provide for automatic erasure of any conviction, for any misdemeanor or felony, no matter how long ago they occurred. This means that employers, landlords, educational institutions, insurance companies, and others have access to people’s criminal records at any time and can discriminate against someone for their entire life, even if they only had one minor conviction decades ago. This hurts formerly incarcerated people, their families, and their local communities and economies. It also makes all of us less safe: the stability and support that come with safe housing, employment, and opportunity make it less likely that someone will reoffend. House Bill 5712 would prevent employers, landlords, educational institutions, insurance companies, and others from viewing information about misdemeanor convictions and certain felony offenses seven years after the date of a final judgment resulting in the person's conviction, taking a step in the right direction. Though the ACLU of Connecticut supports House Bill 5712, we encourage the legislature to strengthen the bill by including all misdemeanor and felony convictions. Additionally, someone who has earned the right to return to society has already paid their debts under the law. The law should not impose an additional sentence by allowing them to face discrimination for years after they have earned the right to try to contribute to society. We encourage the legislature to eliminate the arbitrary time period after which records are sealed, which the bill, as introduced, set at seven years.

Status

Pending

Session

2019

Bill number

H.B. 5712

Position

Needs amendments

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