Second Chance

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 29, 2021, Brigham Young University (BYU) Law, a global law school focused on leadership and innovation in the legal field, announced the development of an online resource called Goodbye Record to assist individuals, legislators, and corporate partners in addressing flaws in the expungement process, and implement solutions to permanently protect second chances for individuals who have had their records expunged.

Goodbye Record is a project of BYU LawX, a legal design lab where students use design thinking to analyze and address pressing social legal issues. In 2021, LawX consulted with Utah Supreme Court Justice Constandinos “Deno” Himonas and other Utah judges, attorneys, and legal experts to study flaws in Utah’s expungement process and develop this resource, which is applicable to and scalable for expansion across the country.

Flaws in the system and outdated online information make it difficult to fully erase a criminal past, which can negatively impact the ability to secure housing and employment. According to a news release from BYU Law, LawX uncovered research that revealed 90 percent of landlords and 94 percent of employers use online background checks, and fully expunged records increase odds of employment by as much as 13 times.

The individual component of Goodbye Record informs people on how to navigate post-expungement roadblocks, including how to report violations to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and how to communicate with the expungement clearinghouse to help background check companies remove expunged records from commercial databases.

The partner component of Goodbye Record invites employers to take the Fair Shot Pledge to implement and support a series of measures to help reduce instances of misreporting, thus giving qualified individuals a fair shot at employment. Companies that take the pledge may display their corporate logo on the Goodbye Record website to let potential employees know they support individuals seeking a fresh start.

The government component of Goodbye Record addresses potential legislative and administrative solutions, including ways states and courts can improve the final step of expungement, limit access points, require subscribers to update their databases, and provides a way for a state to detect when companies abuse access to this data and hold them accountable. The Goodbye Record website is at www.goodbyerecord.com.

On March 31, 2021, U.S. President Joseph Biden proclaimed April 2021 as Second Chance Month. “During Second Chance Month, we lift up all those who, having made mistakes, are committed to rejoining society and making meaningful contributions… We must commit to second chances from the earliest stages of our criminal justice system,” President Biden stated in “A Proclamation on Second Chance Month, 2021.”

Second chance programs and reentry laws that help allow ex-offenders with a prior criminal record to have an opportunity to find work will continue to evolve, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021 compiled by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). Most recently, Alabama passed a law making expungement easier that will take effect in July 2021.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the number one screening firm for enterprise companies in 2020 by HRO Today – offers background screening services that follow expungement laws, a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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