The national trend toward expanding opportunities for restoration of rights after conviction has continued to accelerate throughout 2018. By our count, so far this year alone 31 states have broadened existing second chance laws or enacted entirely new ones, enhancing the prospects for successful reentry and reintegration for many thousands of Americans. On November 6, Florida could take the most politically momentous step of the year if its voters approve a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to re-enfranchise more than a million and a half individuals who are now permanently barred from voting because of a past felony conviction. We expect to publish a full report on these 2018 reforms, similar to the report we published last winter on 2017 laws, by the end of the year. Expect it to feature the broad occupational licensing reforms enacted in more than a dozen states since last spring.
Another important series of second chance reforms this year has accompanied marijuana decriminalization. These reforms are documented and analyzed by Professor Douglas Berman in an important new paper titled “Leveraging Marijuana Reform to Enhance Expungement Practices.” Published in a symposium issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter devoted to various aspects of collateral consequences and criminal records management, Professor Berman’s paper showcases issues that will becomes increasingly important as the War on Drugs winds down. Professor Berman is the executive director of Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, whose official launch is November 2. We expect that the Center under his management will give restoration of rights an important place on its policy agenda.
The abstract of Professor Berman’s article follows: Read more