Dismantling the barrier of criminal records
We joined our community partner, Nolef Turns, to helped convene the Expungement Council, a space for directly impacted community members to share their experiences and priorities for reform around criminal record sealing, as well as build their own collective power to make change at the state level.
Together we pushed hard for free, automatic, and far-reaching expungement/sealing of arrest and conviction records during both a special legislative session in 2020 and the 2021 regular General Assembly session, culminating in groundbreaking legislation that will establish a system of automatic criminal record sealing.
When the new law takes effect in 2025, Virginia will automatically seal misdemeanors that were dismissed or dropped, as well as nine different misdemeanor convictions. Individuals will also be able to petition to seal convictions for other misdemeanors and low-level felonies such as larceny and drug possession. The bill also forces private companies that profit from the sale of criminal records to delete records the state has sealed and allows individuals or the attorney general to sue these companies if they don’t.