Criminal justice bills focused on expungement and probation move to Senate
A bill that would incentivize people to get back on track while on probation passed through the House with a 91-0 vote on Monday.
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.
In a speech on the floor, Rep. Lewis said the bill comes as the state has seen a 13 percent growth in the parole population in recent years. He also stated the legislation would result in a $4.2 million savings per year and has the support of both the ACLU and the Kentucky Chamber as well as the governor.
Under the bill, 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 caseloads of probation officers to give some relief.
House Bill 284 now moves to the Senate for consideration in committee.
Building on progress made with felony expungement legislation that passed in 2016, a bill to provide for the automatic expungement in certain cases passed through the House with a 91-0 vote on Monday.
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.
In a speech on the floor, Bratcher said the legislation is a simple fairness bill that would ensure an individual doesn’t end up with a record if they aren’t guilty.
House Bill 327 now moves to the Senate for consideration in committee.
Following the passage of the bills, the Kentucky Smart on Crime Coalition applauded the House for the passage of both criminal justice reform bills.
“HB327 is a sensible measure that improves our Commonwealth’s expungement statutes by removing barriers to work. Our broad-based coalition is pleased with the steady progress legislators are making each year on the expungement issue. We’re equally heartened to see Rep. Derek Lewis’s probation compliance credit bill, HB284, clear the House. This legislation would finally align incentives for probation to match those of parole. This will encourage treatment of substance use disorder and support work opportunities in order to reduce recidivism,” Kentucky Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks said Monday. “Our coalition encourages the Senate to pass these meaningful bills without delay to make our Commonwealth safer and our workforce stronger.”