This week the Missouri Senate gave first round approval to a bill that would allow for ex-offenders to have some of their criminal records sealed. Under SB 588, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), over the course of a lifetime, offenders would be allowed to seek expungement of any number of infractions (lowest crimes punishable by fines), no more than two misdemeanor offenses and no more than one felony offense (excludes violent felonies). SB 588 shortens the waiting period to apply and streamlines the current process for expungement.
The MCC has long supported an expungement process as a way to give a second chance to ex-offenders who have turned their life around. By sealing criminal records, ex-offenders would have a better chance at employment and becoming tax-paying citizens. Under the bill, law enforcement would still be able to view the sealed record should the individual commit future crimes.
SB 588 needs one more vote of support from the Senate before it moves to the House.