Restoration of Rights

This page contains national restoration of rights materials;  state-specific resources on restoration of rights are available here.


Restoration of Rights Project

Summarizes rights restoration mechanisms in each U.S. jurisdiction, including pardon, judicial expungement and certificates, and systemic relief provisions. 

National HIRE Network Criminal Records Information Clearinghouse

Information about governmental agencies and community-based organizations that assist people with criminal records, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers. 

The Papillon Foundation

State-by-state guide to sealing, expungement, and other relief

Pardon 411

State-by-state pardon information from the Foundation for Continuing Justice

Future Interrupted: The Collateral Damage Caused by Proliferatiom of Juvenile Records (2014); includes state-by-state scorecard 

2014 report on expungement and confidentiality from the Juvenile Law Center

 


Related blog posts:

  • Missouri expands expungement in a big way (7/20/2016) - Last week Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill that will dramatically expand the availability of expungement for people convicted of state crimes. Under the new law (SB-588) the waiting period for felony expungement will be reduced from 20 years to only 7 years from completion of sentence, and the waiting period for misdemeanors will be reduced from 10 to [...]
  • Washington enacts Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (7/6/2016) - Washington State courts are now authorized to grant certain individuals a Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP), which prohibits many state licensing entities from disqualifying the holder solely based on his or her criminal history.  A CROP also protects employers and housing providers from liability for negligent hiring and renting.  The new certificate authority was created by HB 1533, which was [...]
  • Excessive filing fees frustrate new expungement schemes (6/3/2016) - How much is a clean slate worth?  That’s the question many people with criminal records are asking in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee, where the cost of filing for expungement is (or will soon be) between $450 and $550.  To put that into perspective:  In Kentucky, the $500 fee required to expunge an eligible felony conviction under a new law that [...]
  • Study shows certificates work to create job opportunities (5/25/2016) - A new empirical study provides important evidence that “certificates of recovery/relief” can be effective in facilitating employment opportunities for people with a criminal record.  Two University of South Carolina criminologists have concluded that employers in Ohio are willing to look beyond the criminal histories of job applicants who have been issued a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) from a state court. The [...]
  • Expungement expansion round-up (2016 edition) (5/23/2016) - More and more states are enacting new expungement and sealing laws, or expanding existing ones, some covering convictions for the first time.  The first four months of 2016 alone saw courts given significant new authority to limit access to criminal records in four states, and bills have been introduced in several others that promise more new laws in months to [...]
  • NYT says NO to “the other f-word,” and YES to Gov. McAuliffe (5/8/2016) - The New York Times has two great Sunday editorials on issues relating to collateral consequences.  One deals with the issue of labeling people with a criminal record, of special concern when headline writers seem unable to resist using what Bill Keller at the Marshall Project recently called “the other F-word.”  The editorial points out that ugly demeaning labels like “convict” and [...]
  • “Virginians with a felony conviction can now vote, but getting a job is no easier” (5/3/2016) - Lincoln Caplan, formerly of the editorial staff of The New York Times and now on the faculty at Yale Law School, has written a thoughtful piece about collateral consequences for the New Yorker.  It points out why Governor McAuliffe’s order restoring the vote to Virginians with a criminal record doesn’t help them deal with the myriad of legal restrictions that deny [...]
  • Bids Sought for National Clean Slate Clearinghouse (4/29/2016) - Last November President Obama announced plans to create a National Clean Slate Clearinghouse, a joint project between the Departments of Labor and Justice that would “build capacity for legal services needed to help with record-cleaning, expungement, and related civil legal services.”  In late February the Labor Department announced plans for a large-scale contract to establish the Clearinghouse, and sought information [...]
  • A plea to stop labeling people who have a criminal record (4/25/2016) - On April 22, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order restoring civil rights to more than 200,000 individuals once convicted of felonies.  His courageous action is welcome and long overdue, and there are now only three states nationwide that permanently disenfranchise people based on a felony conviction.  The Governor’s press release promises new restoration orders on a regular monthly basis [...]
  • Kentucky expungement offers fresh start to thousands (4/15/2016) -   On Wednesday Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill giving state courts authority for the first time to expunge felony convictions.  The new law, HB 40, allows people convicted of specified non-violent class D felonies who have been crime-free for 5 years to petition to have their conviction vacated, charges dismissed, and record expunged.  Expunged records are deleted from [...]
  • Second chance for some youthful sex offenders (4/13/2016) - On April 6, Arizona became the latest state to offer early relief from sex offender registration obligations to young people convicted of consensual sex offenses and sentenced to probation.  The law, HB 2539, allows individuals convicted before reaching age 22 of sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 15 and 17 (so-called “Romeo and Juliet” offenders), to petition the court for relief [...]
  • Federal expungement case argued in court of appeals (4/8/2016) - On April 7 a panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard argument in United States v. Jane Doe (Jane Doe I).  At issue in that case is whether U.S. District Judge John Gleeson acted within his authority when he expunged the conviction of a woman he had sentenced some 14 years earlier, based on his finding that [...]
  • “A Federal Judge’s New Model for Forgiveness” (3/16/2016) - New York Times By JESSE WEGMAN March 16, 2016 Should a judge care what happens, years down the road, to the defendants convicted in his courtroom? In 2003, John Gleeson, a federal district judge in Brooklyn, presided over the trial of a woman charged for her role in faking a car accident for the insurance payments. After a jury found [...]
  • Restoration of firearms rights: 50-state surveys (3/14/2016) - We have recently converted the 50-state surveys that are part of the Restoration of Rights Resource from PDF to HTML format.  Two of these surveys deal with loss and restoration of firearms privileges as a result of a criminal conviction:  Chart # 1 is titled “Loss and restoration of civil rights and firearms privileges,” and Chart # 2 is “State [...]
  • Gleeson Certificate enters “uncharted waters” (3/14/2016) - The New York Law Journal published an article over the weekend about the “novel relief” provided by the federal certificate of rehabilitation issued by former Judge John Gleeson on March 7, just days before he stepped down from the bench.  A reproduction of the certificate reveals its official appearance, complete with court seal and signatures of Judge Gleeson and the Chief U.S. [...]
  • Judge Gleeson issues a “federal certificate of rehabilitation” (3/7/2016) - In his final week on the bench, in an opinion that may in time prove among his most influential, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson issued a “certificate of rehabilitation” to a woman he had sentenced 13 years before.  See Jane Doe v. United States, No. 15-MC-1174 (E.D.N.Y., March 7, 2016) (Jane Doe II).  The opinion breaks new ground in holding [...]
  • New York certificates of relief fall short in practice (2/29/2016) - New York’s venerable certificate of relief scheme, which aims to mitigate the adverse collateral effects of criminal conviction, has served as a blueprint for certificate laws recently adopted in many other states.  But are New York’s certificates actually effective at restoring rights and status? That is a question addressed in two new scholarly articles, both of which find that New York’s certificates are frequently [...]
  • 50-state guide to expungement and sealing laws (1/13/2016) - The 50-state chart of judicial relief mechanisms from the NACDL Restoration of Rights Resource, which is also posted on this site, is a comprehensive survey of all authorities for judicial relief in the states and federal system. We wanted to bring it to our readers’ attention in light of the new federal interest in helping individuals with a criminal record overcome [...]
  • Medicare Employment Exclusions and Criminal Records: Good and Bad News (1/5/2016) - Yvelisse Pelotte, a staff attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, has drafted a survey and analysis of the barriers to employment in Medicare-funded programs and facilities for people with a criminal record, which is posted below.  While some of these exclusions are short-term and others can be waived by the Secretary of HHS, the statute gives HHS a great [...]
  • Connecticut’s trail-blazing Gov. Dannel Malloy (1/4/2016) - The New York Times published a terrific editorial today describing in detail the extraordinary work being done by Governor Dannel Malloy and others in Connecticut to reform the system of criminal punishment, and to assist those with a criminal record get jobs and qualify for other benefits and opportunities.  Rather than try to summarize all of Connecticut’s trail-blazing accomplishments under [...]