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October 20, 2020 4:40pm

Updated Kentucky expungement guides now available

For Kentuckians seeking to have criminal records expunged and remove barriers to work, education, training, and housing, updated guidebooks that incorporate recent legislation backed by GLI are now available.

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) has updated its Expungement Guidebook to incorporate GLI-backed legislation passed in the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions in Frankfort. In addition, DPA has updated its guidebook for lawyers assisting individuals through the expungement process.

GLI’s members view expungement as a critical public policy tool to support workforce development and successful re-entry. For many individuals in our community, criminal records and past run-ins with the law create barriers to employment, training, education, housing, and other opportunities necessary for success. A survey conducted by the Louisville Metro Center for Health Equity, for example, found that 94 percent of expungement applicants reported having trouble finding a job due to their criminal history.

Through the expungement process, these individuals can remove these barriers and pursue careers, provide for their families, and fully participate in society. One academic study on expungement, in fact, has shown that individuals who have their record expunged saw their wages increase, on average, by more than 20 percent due to increased employment opportunities.

In 2015, GLI became the first business organization in Kentucky to back Class D felony expungement and successfully championed legislation in 2016 to achieve this goal. Since then, GLI has worked aggressively to expand and improve Kentucky’s expungement laws.

  • In 2019, GLI supported Senate Bill 57 (sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Higdon) to expand expungement eligibility and reduce costs.
  • In 2020, GLI supported House Bill 327 (sponsored by Rep. Kevin Bratcher) to make expungement of acquittals and dismissals automatic.

In future legislative sessions, GLI will continue to advocate for improvements to Kentucky’s expungement laws, including further lowering costs, reducing wait periods, and making the process simpler and more accessible.