RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam, Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and President pro tempore Louise Lucas asking the General Assembly to pass legislation expunging the record’s of non-violent offenders in Virginia.
Automatic expungement legislation would allow former criminals to more easily return to living and working without their past convictions on their record. During the 2020 Special Session, House Bill 5146 was introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele L. Herring (D-Alexandria) and recommended by the Virginia State Crime Commission. The bill would have enacted automatic expungement of certain crimes.
The 2021 legislative session starts on Jan. 13.
Stoney’s letter states “non-violent felonies and misdemeanors pose threat to economic mobility for returning citizens.”
Stoney says that Richmond residents with criminal records struggle to find work even with occupational skill training resources from the City of Richmond due to the “stigma associated with their past.”
“Legislation that provides clear avenues to support Virginians fully righting their wrongs, granting second changes to allow them to seek employment, housing and access to credit with out anxiety, is vital,” Stoney said. “It is not only my request, but also the request of Richmonders and all Virginians who are striving to better their lives, for you to support and pass legislation for automatic expungements during the 2021 session.”
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