Selected Mentions of Paper Prisons in the News

Missouri Republicans file bills to automatically expunge non-violent offenses from criminal records (Dec. 12, 2022)

“Missourians would be eligible to have their criminal records automatically cleared of misdemeanor convictions three years after serving their sentence, and five years after serving their sentence for felonies. An estimated 518,000 Missourians would benefit within the first couple of years.

If people want quicker results, they would be able to use the existing petition process one year after the sentence of a misdemeanor is served and three years for a felony.

Mallory Rusch, executive director of Empower Missouri, said when the nation’s criminal justice system was set up, it was before the internet, databases and background checks existed.

“We have to think about the long-term ramifications of a criminal record,” she said, “and make sure that we are not punishing people for the rest of their lives for a crime that resulted in a one-year probation sentence.”

Criminal justice reform advocate Katie Sinquefield spoke Tuesday about a woman interviewed as part of the Clean Slate campaign.

“[She] noted that her children are doing a life sentence with her because she tried to cash a stolen $700 check,” Sinquefield said. “She struggles to keep food on the table and a roof over their head because it’s been difficult to secure stable employment with a felony record. Clean Slate would help entire families.” “

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