ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Bill Walker in his Public Safety Action Plan has called for lawmakers to look into expunging criminal records for good behavior.
In response, members of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission are looking into legislation aimed at removing barriers for former inmates to get back into the job force, KTVA-TV reported .
The TV station reported that Alaska residents could see a legislative proposal as early as the 2019 session.
Department of Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams said the discussion of whether to allow expunged records is a good one because he “thinks it’s the right thing to do.”
“I’m very much in favor of a way for someone to get a black mark off their record after they have proven that they’ve learned from their lesson, that they’ve addressed their mistake, and that they’ve been a good citizen since that mistake,” Williams said.
But Republican Sen. John Coghill of North Pole said allowing expunged records will be very difficult to do.
“I don’t think that we in Alaska are ready for total expungement. There might be some times where maybe taking it off CourtView might be reasonable, but I can tell you there are many of us, myself included, who are not big fans of expungement,” Coghill said. “Even if it’s proposed, all it will do is frame the discussion.”
In the House Majority, an expungement measure would face critics like Democrat Rep. Andy Josephson of Anchorage, a former prosecutor.
“I don’t think I favor it,” Josephson said. “I think the smarter way is to look at it from the other side and say, ‘Are there barriers to employment that are unreasonable?'”
Williams said lawmakers are looking at what other states are doing to get an idea of how expunging records could be instituted.
Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com