Supervisor Sequanna Taylor is calling for reform of laws and practices relating to the sealing of criminal records that make it difficult for people to obtain employment and pursue opportunities to provide for themselves and their families. Taylor has introduced a resolution that calls for the Wisconsin Legislature to reform and expand upon current expungement laws by adopting several recommendations of the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
“Expungement allows people who have completed their sentences to be given a real chance to pursue economic security for themselves and their families. In a city that already has one of the highest unemployment rates and that is known to be the worst place in the country to raise a black child, adding a conviction on to these other factors makes it difficult to obtain lawful employment and secure the basic necessities in life. We have a duty to eliminate barriers to successful re-entry by reducing these material causes of recidivism. Expungement allows former non-violent offenders to become truly rehabilitated by enabling them to gain employment, secure housing, and go back to school. These are tools that, once put into place, assist those who have completed their sentences to become successful citizens,” said Supervisor Taylor.
Supervisor Taylor worked with the Office on African American Affairs to craft the proposal.
“The Office on African American Affairs (OAAA) was created to serve an integral role in recognizing and advising policymakers on recommendations for changes in laws. The recent partnership with the Wisconsin Policy Forum allowed OAAA an opportunity to study the issue of criminal records and the impact of Wisconsin’s strict expungement laws on individuals, especially males of color. This study highlighted our agency’s need to work towards legislative reform and expand expungement and non-conviction laws and practices,” said Nicole Brookshire, Director of the Office on African American Affairs.
The Wisconsin Policy Forum recently issued a report on Wisconsin’s expungement laws and noted that “Wisconsin appears to have a stricter expungement law than all of its neighboring states except Iowa.”
Members of the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations unanimously recommended Taylor’s resolution for adoption at their October 18 meeting. The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will consider the resolution on November 1 at 9:30 a.m.