Young people with misdemeanors often have a difficult time finding stable jobs or pursuing higher education because of the ‘stain’ on their criminal records.
Just last week, the MA Senate passed a criminal justice bill which includes juvenile expungement. On Tuesday morning Oct. 31, UTEC and the statewide coalition Teens Leading the Way (TLTW) hosted a lobby day at the State House to address the House of Representatives to do the same by supporting expungement policies that give young people a second chance.
The rally brought youth organizers from across the state under one roof – including advocates from Boston, Lawrence, Everett, Haverhill, and Lowell.
In 2013, TLTW youth leaders explored criminal justice reform issues that affect young adults that Massachusetts had no expungement laws. These young adults have shared research, policy and personal stories with legislators from the MA Senate and House over the past four years to bring the bill this far.
When UTEC’s young adult leader shared his story with the crowd, Jefferson said, “This expungement bill will help me directly because I have juvenile records, that even if sealed, could hold me back from my life goals. I really want to work with kids, but what if I wanted to be a foster parent or what if I wanted to run a daycare? Sealing a record is helpful, but it’s not enough. This bill begins the process of allowing young people to have a clean slate.”
Organizers feel that this rally has given them a sense of closure and optimism for the bill’s discussion in the House. Without expungement, youth advocates will continue to have barriers to employment, higher education, and even a home. Enabling young adults to expunge misdemeanors after three years will provide many advancement opportunities. More coverage and video from WLLP.
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Source: Lowell Sun