A bill that would remove certain non-violent felonies from criminal records has cleared a Kentucky House committee.
Filed by Louisville Rep. Darryl Owens, the bill would expunge charges after five years, as long as they don’t lead to a federal criminal indictment. The bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee by a 18 to 8 vote largely along party lines. Only one Republican joined the committee’s Democrats in support of the bill.
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Thomas Hill testified in support of the measure.
Hill says the state’s prison system is unnecessarily clogged with nonviolent drug offenders.
“You have a lot of people coming out of prison today who would be good people,” Hill says. “I say a lot; I’m not talkin’ about the majority. We have a lot of re-offense, a lot of recidivism that route. We know that; we expect it. But again these people can’t get hired either, and that’s all part of rehabilitation, and the information age has destroyed that. Because they can’t go West, they can’t go North. They might as well stay here.”
Owens says his bill would affect about 95,000 Kentuckians.
(Image via Shutterstock)