Expungement reform now
Having a criminal record touches nearly every part of a person's life, leaving them open to legalized discrimination in housing, education, and employment. According to research done by the Paper Prisons Initiative, up to a third of Oregonians have a criminal record, and 42% of those people are estimated to be eligible for expungement.
Expungement is a legal process where eligible individuals can seek to set aside their criminal record, helping them rebuild their lives and reduce the discrimination they could face while pursuing employment and housing opportunities.
Less than 6% of people with criminal records in Oregon who are eligible for relief have received it. At the current pace, it would take 77 years for Oregon to clear the backlog.
Senate Bill 397 aims to streamline this process and lower the barriers to expungement for eligible individuals by expediting the process and eliminating filing fees, among other fixes.
The Paper Prisons research team found that an estimated 60% of Black Oregonians have a conviction, compared with just 17% of white Oregonians – a disturbing revelation that highlights Oregon's long history of racial targeting and discrimination in the criminal justice system. Among Black Oregonians who have a conviction, 41% are eligible for relief, making expungement an urgent racial justice issue.
Access to expungement can change the trajectory of a life. No one should be turned away from the opportunity to rebuild their lives due to a costly, complicated process. That's why our communities are calling for urgent action to transform our expungement process.
Take action now to ensure equal opportunity for all Oregonians and tell legislators to support Senate Bill 397.
Your State Senator
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