Newark, N.J. – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, (D-NJ), along with Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ), today hosted a free legal clinic for individuals interested in receiving information about criminal record expungement. The clinic, held this afternoon at Seton Hall Law School, kicked off with an overview of the criminal records expungement process in New Jersey.
During his remarks, Sen. Booker also took the opportunity to discuss his ongoing effort to reform our nation’s criminal justice system and announced that reintroduction of legislation similar to last year’s REEDEM Act, would occur soon.
“In the United States, a great country that believes in liberty and freedom, we incarcerate more people than any other place on the globe,” said Sen. Booker. “It is time for change. It is time to establish much-needed sensible reforms that keep kids out of the adult correctional system, protect their privacy so a youthful mistake can remain just that, and help make it less likely that low-level adult offenders re-offend. It is time for more justice and this clinic is another way that we can bring change to our broken criminal justice system.”
Last year, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) partnered to introduce the REEDEM ACT, sweeping legislation to reform the nation's broken criminal justice system. Crafted to complement sentencing reform efforts, the bipartisan Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment, or REDEEM Act, would reduce recidivism among both children and adults. Reducing recidivism and keeping kids from a life of crime will improve economic output, save money by driving down incarceration rates, and make our communities safer. The REDEEM Act would have given Americans convicted of non-violent crimes a second chance at the American dream. The legislation was designed to help keep kids who get into trouble out of a lifetime of crime and help adults who commit non-violent crimes become more self-reliant and less likely to commit future crimes.
More recently, in February, Sen. Booker joined a bipartisan coalition of senators and representatives to introduce the Smarter Sentencing Act, legislation to modernize federal drug sentencing polices by giving federal judges more discretion in sentencing those convicted of non-violent offenses.
Participants of this event also received the opportunity to sit down with a VLJ staff member to discuss whether or not they qualify for free legal representation in their expungement matter. Others were given directions for the next steps in the expungement process.