Statement by Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
Our youth justice system works best when youth are held accountable for actions and also have a chance to get back on track to becoming productive adults. Today, we applaud the steps of Senator Whitney Westerfield and the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing SB 294 out of committee to help youth who messed up be able to succeed as adults. SB 294 simplifies the process by automatically sealing and expunging juvenile records for non-violent offenses when youth stay out of trouble. It also makes additional offenses eligible for expungement. Children who committed one non-violent juvenile offense prior to age 15 and completed their court ordered requirements with no other offenses would have their record automatically expunged when they turn 18. For youth who committed a non-violent offense between the ages of 15-17, the record would be automatically sealed. Additionally, if the court dismisses the case or finds the child didn’t commit the offense, the record would be expunged at that time. We know this common sense measure will simplify the process of clearing a record for those who messed up as youth, improving access to employment and education opportunities. We look forward to the Senate moving SB 294 through the legislature this session.