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In the first weeks of Afternoons with Amos ten years ago, I had a caller, nearly in tears, as he talked about his problems not getting a decent job. Seems because he’d served time for a crime, but had lived crime free for over ten years. Despite his clean record and “turning his life to Jesus”, he couldn’t find decent employment because his ten year old criminal mistake was turning up in background checks and held against him by employers.  That caller stuck in my mind and the minds of our listeners. And for the next ten years the issue of people not being able to get past their criminal mistakes, years after living crime free, trouble free lives became a growing issue in Indianapolis and increasingly in Indiana and the nation.

For years, Black members of the Indiana legislature tried to change state law, but to no avail.  But the increasing use of background checks by American businesses now caused many non-minorities, not just Blacks, to be denied employment opportunities because of past mistakes; despite rehabilitation. A few years ago, the Indiana Legislature passed the “second chance law” to deal with the problem.  Now this year, the Legislature, with strong bipartisan support, passed one of the most comprehensive criminal record expunge laws in the country. During a special two hour Afternoons with Amos, we talked listeners and the community through the new law, which is called The Second Chance Law.  Like any law it’s a compromise and the requirement that one must petition a court to expunge ones criminal records are tricky, confusing and probably requires the assistance of an attorney. Many didn’t realize this new expungement law covers virtually every criminal offense in Indiana – EXCEPT crimes that take a life, sexually exploit children and all sexual crimes. The new law allows criminal records to be expunged and sealed away from the prying eyes of background check companies.  The new law also does something unusual. It expunges arrests records where individuals have been found not guilty of charges, or charges were dropped.  Or persons were found guilty, but later cleared on appeal.

Appearing on this landmark program was the legislator who authored the new law State Rep. Jud McMillian, Republican of Brookville in southeastern Indiana. Also appearing was Indianapolis State Sen. Greg Taylor who worked with McMillin on the law.  Also appearing was Myla Eldridge of the Marion County Clerk’s office which must process the petitions that Hoosiers must file in order to obtain expungement of their records. She was joined by Chief of Staff Scott Hohl.  Also appearing was long time attorney Roderick Bohannon and community activist Carlette Duffy. Click Below To Read Details of the New Law, including eligibility criteria. How Second Chance Law Works – County Clerk Fact Sheet

Click to Read the Text of Second Chance Law. Text of Indiana Second Chance Law

Click Arrows to Listen to The Full Discussion.  Part 1 Runs 60 Minutes.  Part 2 Runs 39 Minutes. ©2013 WTLC/Radio One.