Right On Crime supports the policies of North Carolina S565, a bill that restarts the automatic expunction of criminal records for thousands of North Carolinians who were found not guilty or whose charges were dismissed.

Currently, these criminal records are eligible to be cleared, but government bureaucracies, fines, and fees are a barrier to them attaining meaningful employment, housing options, and educational opportunities which improve public safety. More than a million cases are eligible for expunction, but remain in limbo after a pause was extended until July 1, 2024. S565 will put in place the necessary provisions to address the concerns that arose with the initial round of automatic expunctions, implementing the administrative changes necessary to correct these issues, and to allow for District Attorneys to have access to the expunged records.

“This legislation is a conservative and data-driven approach to fortify our state’s economy with individuals who are eligible to be actively engaged in our workforce,” said Maggie Horzempa, North Carolina Director of Right On Crime. “S565 will alleviate a burden on taxpayers, strengthen our economy, fortify families, and create safer communities in North Carolina.”

One in every three Americans has some type of criminal record, and the same barriers and stigmas of a criminal record are hurdles for those who are found not guilty and whose charges are dismissed.

S565 only allows for expunction of dismissed charges and those where a person was found not guilty, no convictions will be expunged.

Expungement does not hide criminal records from law enforcement, but court records are sealed from public view for things like employment, housing, and education access.

Eligible individuals will no longer file a petition in court—a process that can be both expensive and time-intensive as courts process each paper petition individually, straining valuable judicial resources.

North Carolina employers are struggling to meet their workforce needs. S565 removes barriers to work and broadens our state’s potential workforce.

Horzempa says, “North Carolina was named America’s Top State for Business, propelled by a robust economy and a skilled workforce—a feat we aim to sustain. Let’s stay business-minded and ensure the prosperity of North Carolina for generations to come. As conservatives, it is our duty to hold the government accountable, support family values, and demand a justice system that promotes public safety for every hard-earned tax dollar.”