Presented by: Donise Jackson – Communications Specialist
On April 5th, 2016, I introduced the Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 2016 to correct inefficiencies under the existing Youth Rehabilitation Act.
Minors that pled guilty to certain offenses are given a guarantee that the record of their offenses will be “sealed” once they turn 22. However, too many of our young adults are being turned down for jobs, housing, and other opportunities for advancement because the existing process to seal their records is failing them. With this legislation, I’m mandating the District to reorganize this process – to take the burden off our youth and place it on the government.
The bill makes two significant changes to the record sealing process. First it extends the age youth can be covered from 22 to 24. This parallels the recent Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program’s age extension to 24 and provides our young adults with their best chance at prosperity and economic success. If 24 is young enough for MBSYEP, it’s young enough to have a charge sealed from your record. We want to change the opinions of individuals who believe that youth recidivism is a real problem in the District and in Ward 8.
Our youth need more time to get through the process of having their record sealed, understanding that they need more time to find jobs within MBSYEP lends to the understanding that youth who have made mistake need a little more time to clear their record before entering the workforce.
Also, the bill clarifies the duties and communication between the Parole Commission, US Attorney’s Office and the Court system. Currently, the breakdown in communication between the government agencies forces low-income black youth to be the attorneys in the situation when we need the government to be as efficient as possible. I’m constantly approached by young brothers who pled guilty under the Act but their records weren’t sealed, that’s the governments fault, not theirs.
While I truly believe the Youth Act is a tool for our youth, as it stands, it’s a burden for our youth. Young people make mistakes and the Youth Act is supposed to be the vehicle that we use to give them second a chance.
Finally, on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, I’m having a Record Sealing and Expungement Fair at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center from 2-8 PM. I’m bringing lawyers and experts to help our youth and adults that need and deserve to have charges removed from their record. Charges should not be a barrier to prosperity, so we’re bringing the resources to Ward 8.
As always, I continue to encourage my Ward 8 family members, neighbors, and friends to get involved in our fight for our prosperity. We must spread the word about events like this and support each other on our paths to greatness. By being involved in the processes that impact our community, we pave a brighter future for the generations that follow.