Having had years of data to make the case, Missouri legislators are making the move to making expunging criminal records easier. With supporters ranging from prosecutors to baristas, the public voice was heard loud and clear – if you did the crime and paid the time, you should have a second chance.
Caitlyn Mann, who works at Sweet Teas & Company in Bloomfield, Missouri agrees with the push for change to allow more people to expunge their records. She says she thinks "it's a really good idea because a lot of people deserve a second chance. It they made a mistake when they were younger and they've not made another offense I think it should be taken off."
A Prosecutor from Stoddard County agrees. Russel Oliver said that expanding the ability to use the law may cause some in Missouri to be concerned, but he knows the state as a whole, including his local community, will benefit. "There are instances where expungement is not the end of the world as far as law enforcement is concerned. It can benefit people getting back on their feet and becoming productive members of society."
Missouri state legislators want to allow one-time offenders and low-misdemeanor offenders, like people who write bad checks, to qualify. The goal is to broaden the law, including more offenses that aren't felonies or sexual assault. This law will allow low offenses to be taken off websites like CaseNet, allowing access to law enforcement only.
Oliver said that "If you would run an FBI check under this new statute, then the new FBI check will still show those records." He continued, pointing out that prosecutors across the state are on board, especially since the law will not apply to repeat offenders.