Press ReleasesBadger Institute: Urges legislators to advance meaningful expungement reform
Badger Institute: Urges legislators to advance meaningful expungement reform
Today, members of the Wisconsin State Legislature circulated a bill that would make meaningful changes to our state’s expungement law. A similar bill passed the Assembly last session but never received a vote in the Senate. This time around, we urge the legislature to pass this commonsense, research-backed, bipartisan legislation.
Sponsored by Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay) and Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), the legislation would make it easier for offenders who committed a non-violent offense to receive an expungement – basically the sealing of a record after the sentence has been served.
Importantly, the legislation removes the restriction that only those 25 or younger are eligible. It also allows judges to determine eligibility for an expungement after the completion of a sentence rather than at the time of sentencing – a unique aspect of Wisconsin’s law that is unlike any other in the country. The bill does not change which crimes are eligible to be expunged.
We’ve researched and written about this policy before and have found stark differences in the use of expungements among counties across the state, as well as disparities based on age and race of the defendant.