Second Chance in West Virginia

The West Virginia legislature at the last minute passed a compromise bill – SB76, the WV Second Chance for Employment Act – that would allow individuals convicted of non-violent felonies to return to court after 10 years to have their convictions reduced to misdemeanors.

For several years the WV legislature has been considering how to improve employment opportunities for people with non-violent convictions, but the House and Senate had different ideas about how to do it. The Senate approach would have expanded the state’s expungement law, which now applies only to youthful misdemeanors, while the House preferred reducing nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors. OnĀ April 8, the Senate agreed to accept the “forgiving” approach favored by the House, creating a new category of “reduced misdemeanor” that need not be reported on employment applications but will be reflected in background investigations.

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