A recent study by the prestigous Pew Research firm shows that one in every 31 adults in the United States is in the corrections system, which includes jail, prison, probation and supervision, more than double the rate of a quarter century ago. The report was released in March of 2009.

While the study did not touch on the long-term consequences of those with a criminal record or rates of recidivism, a consequence of going through the penal system is often a permanent obstacle to meaningful employment and reentering society in a productive way. While politicians are rushing to bailout failing and/or corrupt corporations, it is time for them to look at giving some of these offenders a second chance by passing meaningful expungement and record sealing laws. Such a move would meet the reports recommendation that states “create incentives for offenders and supervision agencies to succeed, and monitor their performance.”

The study, which reported the current rate compares to 1 in 77 people in 1982, concluded that with dwindling resources, more emphasis should be put on community supervision, not jail or prison. Expungement laws are constantly changing, for better or for worse. For example, there has recently been a proposed law change in Pennsylvania, Senate Bill 391. That bill would expand expungement law to include both second and third degree misdemeanors. It is important to always stay up to date on new or changing expungement laws that might affect you. Be sure to bookmark our news section to stay current with changes in Texas expungement law.