Resolution in Support of Availability of Certificate of Rehabilitation in Cases Involving Certain Nonviolent Offenses
Whereas, At least 20 percent of all American adults have a criminal record; and
WHEREAS, those who violate the law must be held accountable and required to fully satisfy their sentence; and
WHEREAS, a criminal record presents a significant obstacle to an individual’s ability to obtain employment, housing, and education, particularly given the proliferation of mechanisms for performing far-reaching background checks; and
Whereas, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is committed to developing effective criminal justice policies that create safe communities for citizens as well as strong state budgets; and
Whereas, ALEC believes that state policies should seek to achieve the twin goals of justice and mercy;
Whereas, the extent to which ex-offenders are able to successfully reintegrate into society and become productive citizens has been demonstrated to be correlated with recidivism;
Whereas, empirical research has shown that most re-offending by those on probation occurs within the first year or two following an initial offense, after several years have passed since a person’s last offense they are very unlikely to commit another offense; and after seven years have passed since a person’s last offense they are no more likely than any person who has never offended to commit an offense;
Whereas, policies that contribute to successful offender reentry are supported by many law enforcement leaders, judges, and prosecutors because they enhance public safety and workforce development, and states can make those ex-offenders who have clearly demonstrated they are rehabilitated by completing programs and staying clean more readily employable by providing a certificate of rehabilitation and enacting The Civil Liability for Employers Hiring Ex-Offenders Act;
Therefore Be It Resolved that [insert state here] should adopt policies that provide judges and agencies with the discretion to enable certain nonviolent offenders to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation after a reasonable period of exemplary conduct and demonstrated rehabilitation.
Approved by the Justice Performance Project, August 8, 2013. Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, October 2013.