WASHINGTON (June 8, 2020) – Louisiana just concluded its legislative session last week. Amidst COVID-19, the state still considered clean slate and expungement legislation, which will be critical to economic recovery. Three bills passed the Senate and House and are now on the Governor’s desks for signing. These are vital bills that would expand eligibility of expungements and ease the path for reentering individuals.

In a new policy short, R Street Associate Director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Nila Bala discusses how clean slate is a policy that automates record clearances, often taking expungement laws that already exist and making them accessible.

Right now, only 6.5 percent of eligible individuals apply for expungements because of lack of access, knowledge and funds to pay for the cumbersome process.

Bala finds that expungements are incredibly beneficial to individuals and help ease the path to employment, housing and other opportunities. Without expungement, individuals and their families are often condemned, because of the stigma of a record, to lifelong poverty.

Automation will save the Pelican State costs in the long-run and improve public safety by giving deserving individuals a second chance.

Bala concludes that, “Louisiana has an opportunity to pass Second Chance policies, which will be more important than ever in a post-pandemic world.”