Clean slate – automatic expungement of criminal records
March 29, 2019
Protecting the confidentiality of records is central to the juvenile justice system’s goal of rehabilitation.
Connecticut law requires juvenile records to remain inaccessible to the public, but when a youth is arrested, a paper trail forms. This trail can follow a youth through adolescence and into adulthood, imposing barriers in school or job applications, professional licensure, enlistment in the armed forces, or housing. Despite perceived confidentiality, records are often inappropriately or inadvertently disclosed. Employers and others who obtain juvenile records may not appreciate the difference between juvenile and criminal court, or worse, may believe that any record is disqualifying.
Adolescents have a distinct capacity for change and rehabilitation, and almost every state provides a mechanism to eradicate juvenile records after court involvement has ended. But this mechanism is not meaningful if it is inaccessible.