The DC Re-entry Facilitation Amendment Act of 2012 was introduced by DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson Mendelson at the Council’s Legislative Session on July 10. A public hearing on this Bill, B19-889, has been scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 10:00am in Room 412 of the Wilson Building. Sign up to testify.
In addition, a hearing has been scheduled on the "Human Rights for Ex-Offenders Amendment Act of 2011," Bill 19-0017, for Wednesday, August 22 at 11:00am in Room 500 of the Wilson Building. Sign up to testify.
The proposed legislation B19-889 acts on CCE policy proposals and contains three components:
- 1. An employer liability protection provision,
- 2. A certificate of good standing program, and
- 3. Refinements to the DC Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2006.
CCE has been working to advance public discussion and updated policies based on best practices in other jurisdictions. After more than six years examining this issue, we published a groundbreaking report on employment among previously incarcerated persons in the District, Unlocking Employment Opportunity in 2011.
First, our report presented a policy solution offering liability protection for employers who hire or retain an employee with a criminal record. This solution is designed to encourage businesses to hire returning citizens without exposing themselves to unnecessary legal risks.
And second, the bill calls for the creation of “Certificates of Good Standing” intended to confirm that individuals on parole or community supervision are in good standing with the terms of their release. In other jurisdictions, certificates like these have helped encourage people returning from incarceration to proudly go forward with a job search.
CCE’s research played an important role in policy sealing, or “expunging,” criminal records when the DC Council examined this issue in 2006.
In our 2005 report, Creating an Expungement Statute for the District of Columbia, CCE promoted the passage of the DC Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2006, which offers a way to seal certain low-level, non-violent criminal arrest and conviction records from public view after a waiting period and judicial determination. The Act also provides for sealing of records based on actual innocence.
The legislation recently proposed by the DC Council makes certain expansions and updates to this policy.
See CCE’s Unlocking Employment Opportunity for further information about employer liability and certificates of good standing; see Creating an Expungement Statute for the District of Columbia and the Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2006 for more information on record sealing in DC.