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Advocates Rally For Bill To Seal Records Of Non-Violent Offenders In Maryland

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Advocates rallied for the Second Chance Act, which would seal records of convictions for non-violent misdemeanors from public view after a certain period of time.
WAMU/Matt Bush
Advocates rallied for the Second Chance Act, which would seal records of convictions for non-violent misdemeanors from public view after a certain period of time.

Ex-offenders trying to re-enter society after prison face many obstacles, and many end up homeless. A group of those people rallied in front of the statehouse in Annapolis on Thursday asking lawmakers to pass a series of bills they feel will help them.

There are five bills in particular, but it's the Second Chance Act that has marchers fired up. It would seal records of convictions for non-violent misdemeanors from public view after a certain period of time. Montgomery County Democrat Jamie Raskin is the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, and says those convictions stop a lot of ex-offenders from moving on with their lives once they re-enter society.

"They had a small amount of marijuana and a conviction from eight years ago. They had a public drunkenness charge after an Orioles game 11 years ago. And these things are continuing to haunt them in a tough economy," he says.

Raskin says law enforcement would still have access to the records of those convictions. A committee hearing on the bill has yet to be scheduled.

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