Letter: Sealing criminal records

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Newsday's coverage of the proposal to seal records of deserving ex-offenders in New York is a wonderful step in helping to bring to light this important issue. However, the editorial ["Don't rush to seal records," June 6] merits further comment.

As co-chair of the New York State Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section Sealing Committee, my goal is to strike the right balance between the public interest and providing deserving, reformed ex-offenders with a fresh start. Rest assured, the important issues raised in the editorial were extensively explored by the committee and will be addressed as we move forward within the legislative process.

Nothing in our proposal prevents law enforcement authorities from accessing these records in the case of a new crime. Further, as criminal recidivism is linked to unemployment, making it easier for ex-offenders to secure jobs enhances public safety. It also reduces the population on public assistance.

New York remains one of the few states that has no expungement or sealing law applicable to the vast majority of adults. While we do need to carefully construct proposed legislation on sealing, the time to provide deserving individuals with that all-important second chance is soon, not years down the line.

Rick Collins, Mineola

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