A new law in Indiana that broadens the eligibility for expungement is also expected to have a major impact on the ability of former offenders to obtain employment. Not only does the new law allow for the expungement of certain nonviolent and nonsexual misdemeanors and class D felonies, but it also will no longer allow for potential employers to ask if an applicant has ever been convicted of an offense that has been expunged by the court.
This new law effectively provides a clean slate for those former offenders that have had their convictions expunged. It will allow for a former offender to gain employment, apply for housing, and even seek admission to educational and some licensing institutions without the fear that his or her conviction will hinder their ability to achieve their goals. The new law was sponsored by Representative Jud McMillin as House Bill 1482, and it was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence at the beginning of May of this year.
The legislation’s main goal is to reduce recidivism and give those former offenders that have truly been rehabilitated the chance to have a fresh start. Many former offenders have paid their debt to society, and have families for whom they need to provide. The burden of a conviction on one’s record can affect more than just the offender, but also their ability to support their spouses and children. In order to ensure that discrimination against a former offender that has obtained an expungement is not continuing, the new law makes such an employer guilty of a class C infraction if they violate the nondiscrimination provision. Employers found guilty may be held in contempt of the court and could be subject to an injunction.
The law goes into effect on July 1, 2013, and it will provide a second chance for many.