EDITORIAL: Rehabilitated criminals need second chance

2013-06-17T00:00:00Z 2013-06-17T15:40:03Z EDITORIAL: Rehabilitated criminals need second chance nwitimes.com
June 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Getting and keeping a job can help keep reformed criminals out of prison. The honest income makes a difference. But a criminal record can be a barrier to employment. Some employers are naturally skittish about hiring ex-convicts.

So beginning July 1 Indiana will offer thousands of Hoosiers the opportunity to have their criminal records expunged.

Employers doing background checks wouldn't be able to see crimes like drunken driving and drug dealing once the records have been scrubbed. More serious crimes might be marked as expunged but remain public record.

Most of the crimes eligible for expungement are nonviolent. Sex crimes and misconduct of a public official are not eligible to be scrubbed from a criminal record.

However, police would still be able to view these past offenses. That's important for obvious public safety reasons.

There are strict requirements for expungement, including a court hearing and judicial oversight. Ex-convicts must have a clean record for at least five to eight years, depending on the crime.

Expungement is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, too. No one is allowed to submit a second petition.

It is good to see so many safeguards in place, and that police will still be able to see criminal records.

This should not be seen as being soft on crime. Rather, it is about bringing stability to the ex-convict's life and strengthening public safety as a result.

Having a job strengthens not only the individual's economic prospects, but of society as well.

When the crime was minor, especially nonviolent, and there is proof that the criminal has changed his or her ways, expungement can be a good option.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"

Questions?

Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

Poll

Loading…

Are you hopeful that Gary will rebound?

View Results