LANSING — Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) today introduced a pair of bills that protect people adjudicated in the juvenile justice system from permanent punishment. These two bills will provide for the confidentiality of juvenile records and create additional opportunities for individuals with juvenile records to have their record set aside so that it no longer presents a barrier to employment or education.
“Everybody deserves a second chance. When people make mistakes, especially when they are young, the criminal justice system should focus on rehabilitation and getting people back on track,” Sen. Irwin said. “We’re making good progress on reforming the expungement system for adults and we ought to extend similar opportunities to people who committed their crimes as juveniles.”
The first bill, Senate Bill 681, would remove the age limit required for eligibility to set aside a criminal record and allows for all traffic offenses to be set aside. Currently, juveniles seeking to set aside their criminal records may complete an application if they are at least 18 years of age and if a year has passed since their disposition or release from detention. This bill would allow people to seek a set aside of their record more quickly.
This bill would also create a process for automatic set asides so that all adjudications would be eligible for set aside if the offender stays out of trouble. This extends to all juvenile offenses except those requiring a life sentence or those in which the juvenile is waived to the adult court.
Senate Bill 682, introduced by Sen. Lucido, would seal the court records of juvenile offenders that are currently available publicly. This bill will seal those records, making them available only to law enforcement. This allows people who have paid their debt to society to rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities without having a youthful indiscretion however their progress.
“This is a historic milestone for juveniles,” Sen. Lucido added. “It is crucial we remove these barriers that keep our youth from moving forward.”
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