Oregon currently has very long waiting periods for expungement, in some cases as long as 20 years. This is not only well above the national average, but also counter to the research which has shown that if an individual remains crime-free for four to seven years, they are no more likely to commit a new crime than the general population. Senate Bill 397 would allow more Oregonians to efficiently and equitably clear their records.
Access to housing, employment, and higher education are all impacted by criminal records. After someone has served whatever sentence was imposed and remained crime-free for an appropriate amount of time, they should be allowed to move on and lead a productive life without the burden of a criminal record. This is especially important for Oregonians with children, as even a minor record can be a life-sentence to poverty.
Senate Bill 397 would reduce waiting periods for expungement eligibility, and simplify the process.