Gov. Carney signs package of criminal justice reform bills

DELAWARE – Governor John Carney signed a package of criminal justice reform bills Monday afternoon.

Among those bills were Senate Bill 111 and Senate Bill 112. The bills expand eligibility for expungement, and changes the way Delaware goes through that process.

“What we are really doing is expanding economic opportunity for the state of Delaware by removing barriers and hindrances that many Delawareans face. There are over 290,000 Delawareans that will be eligible for this,” said bills sponsor State Senator Darius Brown.

With the governor’s signature, many low-level crimes are able to be wiped clean from offenders’ records. The offenses include underage possession or consumption of alcohol and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, those convicted will have to wait three, five, or seven years for expungement eligibility.

Sen. Brown says the goal is to help hundreds of thousands of Delawareans overcome barriers to employment and housing opportunities.

“What we are really doing is expanding economic opportunity for the state of Delaware,” he said.

Meanwhile, under SB 111, the State Bureau of Identification must implement a digital system that automatically identifies eligible cases every month.

“We have to electronically file and update the technology within state government and certain departments to make it possible for us to do automation of expungement. So, we will be updating technology, building out those platforms so that we will be up and running in August of 2024,” said Sen. Brown.

Sen. Brown tells 47 ABC that he hopes the bills will set Delaware up to be an example for other states in criminal justice reform.

“There’s been other states, since we introduced the Clean Slate Act, who have contacted my office wanting to model and replicate our bill in their states,” he said.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics