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September 13, 2017

"Erasing the Mark of a Criminal Past: Ex-Offenders’ Expectations and Experiences with Record Clearance"

The title of this post is the title of this paper recently posted to SSRN authored by Ericka Adams, Elsa Chen and Rosella Chapman. Here is its abstract:

Through the process of record clearance, ex-offenders can have certain minor convictions removed from their criminal record or designated as expunged.  This study analyzes data gathered from semi-structured interviews with 40 past offenders to examine the expectations of individuals who seek record clearance and the extent to which completion of the process facilitates efforts to reintegrate into society and desist from crime.

The analysis finds that record clearance benefits ex-offenders through external effects, such as the reduction of barriers to employment, and internal processes, such as the facilitation of cognitive transformation and the affirmation of a new identity.  These benefits accrue from both the outcomes of the record clearance process and from the process itself.  Increased availability of inexpensive or free opportunities for expungement can contribute to more successful reintegration of ex-offenders into the workforce, families, and communities.  Not only would this improve quality of life for the ex-offenders, but it could also increase public safety and reduce public spending.

September 13, 2017 at 11:46 PM | Permalink


as a matter of course, those who have lived law-abiding lives for decades should have minor crimes (and in many cases, major crimes) removed from their records. If I were a governor (or POTUS), this is a power I would exercise often.

Obama, of course, blew off this for the sexier cause of letting violent criminals out early.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 14, 2017 5:43:15 PM

In the age of the internet removal of convictions from the records is becoming a futile gesture. Newspaper accounts remain forever.

Posted by: aon14 | Sep 16, 2017 8:17:20 AM

Federalist you write that Obama let out "violent criminals" early. Please cite your evidence.

Posted by: aon15 | Sep 16, 2017 8:19:12 AM

Barack Obama pardoned the guy who gave the names of our Afghani informants to the Taliban. Obama released a notorious Puerto Rican terrorist. Obama released non-violent drug dealers. Anon15 is invited to try to sell illegal drugs in the same territory as one of these non-violent drug dealers. Report back.

Posted by: David Behar | Sep 17, 2017 10:12:04 PM

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