Today, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff got behind a bill that would give Georgians who were convicted of nonviolent federal offenses as children the chance for a fresh start without a criminal record.

“A nonviolent juvenile offender shouldn’t be marked for life by a mistake they made or a bad situation they found themselves in as a child,” Sen. Ossoff said. “This bipartisan legislation will expunge the juvenile records of eligible nonviolent offenders, so Georgians who committed nonviolent federal offenses as children don’t face a lifetime of stigma and reduced opportunity. This is about second chances for young people.”

The First Step Implementation Act of 2021 would provide retroactive protections that will to people currently in prison and those sentenced in the future.

S. 1014, the First Step Implementation Act of 2021, would:

  • Provide for the sealing or expungement of records of eligible nonviolent juvenile offenders;
  • Allow courts to reduce sentences imposed on juvenile offenders who have served more than 20 years;
  • Allow courts to apply the First Step Act sentencing reform provisions retroactively;
  • Allow courts to sentence below a mandatory minimum for non-violent controlled substance offenses, if the court finds the defendant’s criminal history over-represents the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal record and the likelihood of recidivism; and
  • Require the Attorney General to establish procedures ensuring that only accurate criminal records are shared for employment-related purposes.

The legislation was also endorsed by the following organizations: American Conservative Union, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Dream Corps JUSTICE, Drug Policy Alliance, Due Process Institute, FAMM, Federal Public and Community Defenders, Human Rights for Kids, Justice Action Network, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition, Prison Fellowship, R Street Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and FreedomWorks.

United States Senator Jon Ossoff speaks during a press conference at the Atlanta Beltline headquarters on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

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