Justice & Accountability
Advocacy & Campaigns
JAC's legislative priorities are to make expungements more accessible through clean slate legislation, to stop solitary confinement for individuals with mental illness and reduce the fines and fees associated with driver's licenses. Learn more about our campaigns and how you can get involved to support these efforts below.
New Endings & Opportunities (NEO)
Louisiana also has some of the most expansive expungement law in the country. The problem? With the highest filing fees in the nation ($550 to $650) and a process so confusing that most people have to hire a lawyer, most people cannot afford to get an expungement. Even though they've served their time. Even though they have no new convictions.
New Endings & Opportunities (Clean Slate) Legislation would shift the burden from the expungement seeker to the government to initiate the expungement, automatically, after waiting periods that are already provided in the law.
New Endings & Opportunities Legislation: Because We all Deserve a Second Chance
Louisiana faces several challenges connected to its criminal legal system: the highest incarceration rate in the country, a high poverty rate, and numerous barriers to housing, education, and employment for those who have served their sentences. While these are complex challenges, one common-sense policy solution is to simplify the overly complicated process of clearing old criminal records for thousands of individuals. By enacting clean slate legislation in Louisiana, we can remove barriers for those who have served their sentences and provide them the opportunity to thrive. This is more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19 to ensure that Louisianians with criminal records aren't left behind when the economy reopens.
This legislation would shift the burden from the expungement seeker to the government to initiate the expungement, automatically, after waiting periods that are already provided in the law.
In 2021, we worked with Representative Ted James to introduce legislation to ensure that everyone who is legally entitled to expungement under current Louisiana law would get their record expunged by the government. Unfortunately, the bill died after last minute opposition by the State Police, which receives a portion of the fees paid by expungement seekers.
We are returned in 2022, and again in 2023 to accomplish our goal! Louisiana Act 454 (SB111) was signed by Governor Edwards on July 10, 2023. Pending funding in this upcoming year, Louisiana's expungement processes will be smoother, swifter and much more affordable to hundreds of thousands eligible citizens.
Check back here for updates on that effort.
We can all agree that a criminal record shouldn't be a life sentence to poverty.
Join the NEO Coalition to advocate for FREE expungements in Louisiana.
Driver's License Legislation
JAC coordinates a diverse group of organizations and individuals interested in increasing access to driver's licenses. Previously, JAC joined with others to prevent restrictive and discriminatory codes from being placed on licenses for individuals with certain convictions or noncompliance. Currently, JAC is working to remove automatic suspensions for non-driving related offenses that impact over-policed, low-income, communities of color. We know that access to a driver's license is critical for those returning from incarceration and driver's licenses can increase employability and reduce recidivism.
Fair Chance Hiring
With our assistance, Louisiana has joined many states with the Fair Chance Hiring, Act 406 (HB707).
Act 406 lays out three crucial obligations for employers when considering a candidate's criminal history during the hiring process:
1. No more arrests or charges: Employers cannot request or take into account arrests or charges that did not result in a conviction.
2. The "individual assessment": Employers must assess whether a candidate's criminal history directly and adversely relates to the specific duties of the position. This assessment factors in key guidelines provided by the EEOC in their 2012 Enforcement Guidance on Arrest and Conviction Records.
3. Transparency is key: Employers must provide candidates with copies of their background check reports upon written request. This applies regardless of the hiring decision.
Stay compliant and informed with Act 406.
If you or someone you know have experienced employment discrimination because of their criminal history, contact us.
For More Information, call (504) 273-1091