Criminal justice bills to reduce the length of probation and record expungement clear first legislative hurdle

Probation Credits

A bill that would incentivize people to get back on track while on probation passed through the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

House Bill 284, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lewis, would cut down on the time a person is on probation based on the completion of certain education, skills training, work, or substance use disorder treatment milestones.

Lewis said if a person gets out of prison and then earns their GED, they would receive 90 days off their probation. If an individual finds employment, one day is taken off of their probation timeline for every 40 hours they work.

Lewis said the bill also seeks to cut down on the case loads of probation officers to give some relief.

House Bill 284 passed through committee unanimously and now moves to the House floor for a vote.

Expungement

Building on progress made with felony expungement legislation that passed in 2016, a bill to provide for the automatic expungement in certain cases.

House Bill 327, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Bratcher, would allow for the automatic expungement of a person’s record after acquittals and dismissals with prejudice.

Bratcher said the bill corrects an issue most people don’t realize is happening. He explained when a person commits a crime, goes to court, and the issue is dismissed, the record of the offense still follows the individual around despite the fact they were acquitted and/or the case was dismissed.

Charles Aull of Greater Louisville Inc. testified in favor of the bill, stating GLI is proud to be part of a large coalition supporting the legislation which they feel will make expungement more accessible and ensure Kentuckians don’t fall through the cracks. Aull added the bill will be a good thing for Kentucky’s workforce and economy.

Kentuckian Keturah Herron also testified in favor of the bill detailing the process of her conviction in 2005 and the stress and strain caused by that one moment in her life and the worry she felt about how the case would impact her career. Herron said this bill will ensure individuals don’t have to suffer through a lengthy process that negatively impacts their future.

House Bill 327 passed through the committee unanimously and now moves to the House floor for a vote.

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