WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS46)—U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is pushing for legislation he says will give young adults who commit nonviolent crimes a second chance.
According to a spokesperson, Senator Ossoff, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is pushing for a new law that will seal or expunge the records of eligible nonviolent juvenile offenders.
The bipartisan bill, First Step Implementation Act of 2021, would give Georgians who were convicted of a nonviolent federal offense as a child the chance for a fresh start without a criminal record.
“A nonviolent juvenile offender shouldn’t be marked for life by a mistake they made or a bad situation they found themselves in as a child,” Sen. Ossoff said. “This bipartisan legislation will expunge the juvenile records of eligible nonviolent offenders, so Georgians who committed nonviolent federal offenses as children don’t face a lifetime of stigma and reduced opportunity. This is about second chances for young people.”
The proposal, if passed, would be retroactive, applying to people currently in prison and those sentenced in the future.
According to Senator Ossoff’s office, the new law would:
- Provide for the sealing or expungement of records of eligible nonviolent juvenile offenders;
- Allow courts to reduce sentences imposed on juvenile offenders who have served more than 20 years;
- Allow courts to apply the First Step Act sentencing reform provisions retroactively;
- Allow courts to sentence below a mandatory minimum for non-violent controlled substance offenses, if the court finds the defendant’s criminal history over-represents the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal record and the likelihood of recidivism;
- Require the Attorney General to establish procedures ensuring that only accurate criminal records are shared for employment-related purposes