Elenore Wade, Friedman Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor in the Prisoner & Reentry Clinic, testified before the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety on April 8, 2021, in support of expansive changes to the District’s criminal record sealing law and increasing access to justice in the area of record sealing. At the hearing, two modest criminal record sealing bills were under consideration, and the Committee opened discussion on a more recently introduced bill that would drastically expand and simplify criminal record sealing in D.C. The District’s current criminal record sealing law is one of the most restrictive in the U.S. and provides little meaningful relief to the one in seven people in D.C. with a criminal record, most of whom are Black, who continue to face discrimination based on their criminal records long after they serve their sentences. Professor Wade spoke to the importance of reducing financial and procedural access to justice barriers for individuals seeking criminal record sealing under any new law.
Watch the testimony here.