National maps on expungement, pardoning, and voting rights restoration
The Collateral Consequences Resource Center is pleased to unveil six new maps that visualize the Center’s research on national laws and policies for restoring rights and opportunities to people with a record. These maps are now available below and on the 50-state comparison pages (expungement, sealing & other record relief; civil rights; and pardoning). Each state can be clicked for a detailed summary of state law and policy.
The Center will keep these maps updated, along with the rest of the Restoration of Rights Project, with future changes to the law.
I. Record Relief (Expungement, Sealing, Set-Aside)
The first three maps categorize each state’s record relief laws based on the availability of conviction relief, automatic relief, and non-conviction relief:
|Authority for Expunging, Sealing, or Setting Aside Convictions|
|Broader felony & misdemeanor relief||Limited felony & misdemeanor relief||Misdemeanors & pardoned felonies||Misdemeanor relief||No general sealing or set-aside|
Note: Even if misdemeanor and/or felony relief is generally available, various offenses are generally ineligible. Conversely, states categorized as having no court sealing or set-aside may make relief available to limited categories of convictions (e.g., youthful drug convictions, convictions of human trafficking victims) and nearly all authorize sealing of at least some non-conviction records.
|Automatic Record Clearing|
|A range of non-convictions, misdemeanors & certain felonies||A range of non-convictions & misdemeanors||Certain minor misdemeanors||Certain marijuana-related records||A range of non-convictions+|
Note: A number of these laws have been enacted recently but have not yet been implemented or become effective. “Misdemeanors” and “felonies” refers to convictions. Although not noted in the chart, a number of laws covering misdemeanor and/or felony convictions also cover infractions and/or violations.
|Process for Expunging or Sealing Non-Convictions|
|Automatic relief+||Expedited at disposition++ or upon admin. request||Court petition
(less burdensome/ restrictive)
(more burdensome/ restrictive)*
+ These automatic relief mechanisms may be limited: they may be prospective only or exclude certain dispositions. In several states, uncharged arrests are not covered, and require the filing of a court petition to obtain relief.
++ Where relief is “expedited at disposition,” uncharged arrests typically require the filing of a court petition to obtain relief, and older cases may as well.
* Often, more burdensome procedural requirements apply, such as waiting periods, document collection, service of process, filing fees, contested hearings, discretionary review. In addition, a number of these states make certain non-convictions wholly ineligible for relief because of the person’s past record, the nature of the charges, or the type of disposition.
II. Voting Rights
The next pair of maps classify state laws regarding loss and restoration of voting rights due to conviction:
Loss of Voting Rights Due to Conviction
|Never||Upon felony conviction & incarceration||Upon any conviction & incarceration||Upon conviction for a listed offense||Upon felony conviction||Upon conviction for felony or certain misdoes|
Restoration of Voting Rights Lost Due to Conviction
|Not lost||On release from custody||Completion of incarceration & parole (or earlier||Completion of incarceration & supervision||Completion of incarceration, supervision, & specified court debt||Only by executive clemency|
A final map categorizes states in terms of pardoning frequency:
Relative Pardoning Frequency
(regular process; significant % of apps granted)
(regular process; small % of apps granted)
(irregular process, depends on governor)
(few or no pardons in 20 years)