FRANKFORT, KY. – On Thursday, July 20, Rep. Kim Moser, joined by members of the Clean Slate Coalition, announced legislation proposed for the 2024 Kentucky General Assembly session that would automate the process of expunging criminal records already authorized under existing statute. Lawmakers heard testimony from the Clean Slate Initiative, a national organization focused on providing technical assistance to states to automate their processes. Currently, 38% of adults in Kentucky have a criminal record, but fewer than 10% of those with offenses eligible to be removed will petition to have their record sealed due to costs, the complex process or a simple lack of awareness of the opportunity.
To assist this population, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky partners with the Legal Aid Society, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, AppalReD Legal Aid and Kentucky Legal Aid to offer expungement clinics, where individuals can receive free legal advice from professionals from the aforementioned agencies. If participants qualify for expungement, they are guided through the process, and Goodwill covers any fees for the expungement up to $600 per participant.
“In 2022, Goodwill assisted over 1,900 Kentuckians to remove over 2,700 eligible offenses from their records,” said Amy Luttrell, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “Having criminal offenses on their records keeps many in poverty long after they have paid for those offenses, and the opportunity to clear their record of offenses offers a chance to build new lives and contribute to their communities. Kentucky needs more citizens in the workforce, living in stable housing and taking care of their families. We believe this legislation would result in lower recidivism by giving people better choices and would strengthen Kentucky’s economy with negligible risk to public safety.”
“Expungement is one of several policy tools that can help alleviate workforce shortages in our state by encouraging employment and self-sufficiency among justice-involved Kentuckians,” said Ashli Watts, president & CEO of the Kentucky Chamber. “While Kentucky already allows for the expungement of non-violent, low-level felonies and misdemeanors, it can often be difficult and expensive for many eligible Kentuckians to navigate the system. Automatic expungement would simplify the process, which, in turn, would help more Kentuckians clean up their records and fully participate in the workforce.”
“When Kentuckians are empowered to support themselves and their children, the entire community benefits,” said Kungu Njuguna, policy strategist for the ACLU of Kentucky. “An automated expungement process offers people a fresh start, without barriers to employment, housing and education opportunities that are necessary to rebuild their lives.”
“Greater Louisville Inc. is a proud member of the Clean Slate Coalition and supports legislation to help Kentuckians who have been involved in the criminal justice system access jobs and contribute to our economy,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president and CEO of GLI. “Automating expungement for those who have completed their sentence and remained crime-free will remove costly barriers and ultimately help more Kentuckians provide for their families and rejoin our workforce.”
“The Clean Slate Initiative is proud to stand with our partners in Kentucky to support a bipartisan Clean Slate policy in the Bluegrass State,” said Sheena Meade, CEO of The Clean Slate Initiative. “Clean Slate is a common-sense measure that will help thousands of honest, hard-working Kentuckians. People who would be eligible for Clean Slate have already put in the work to rebuild their lives after their past mistake — this policy just makes it official, removing the systematic barriers that come with a record, and often holding people back from better jobs, better housing and a fair shot at a better life. CSI hopes to see Kentucky join the wave of states expanding access to second chances.”
About Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is a 100-year-old nonprofit organization that operates in 103 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The organization is committed to using resources from its 67 retail stores to help build pathways out of poverty for individuals who need a hand up in life. In 2022, Goodwill helped place 2,368 Kentuckians into jobs with 877 of its employer partners and inside its own retail stores. Goodwill uses approximately 90 cents from every dollar generated in its retail stores to operate programs and services that help Kentucky’s hardest-to-serve job seekers build the life they desire.