PRESS RELEASE

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Applauds Key Florida Leaders and Legislators on Passage of “Juvenile Diversion Program Expunction Bill” to Improve Job Opportunities for Young People

 

PRESS RELEASE

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Applauds Key Florida Leaders and Legislators on Passage of “Juvenile Diversion Program Expunction Bill” to Improve Job Opportunities for Young People

 

 

ORLANDO, FLMay 16, 2022 — The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) is excited to support key elected leaders like Rep. David Smith (R) of Winter Springs and Sen. Keith Perry (R) of Gainesville for the passage of HB 195: Juvenile Diversion Program Expunction. The legislation will make it easier for a young person who successfully completes a diversion program to have their arrest record expunged in the state of Florida. The bipartisan bill has been passed in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Ron Desantis on Thursday, May 12, 2022.

HB 195 would broaden a youth’s eligibility to have their juvenile arrest record expunged after completing diversion. Diversion programs provide an alternative to the traditional punishment that would stem from an arrest for a given offense.

Under current law, some youth are eligible to have their arrest records expunged after completing a diversion program. A person can qualify for the expungement only if their participation in diversion was for a first-time misdemeanor offense. The bill would allow youth who complete diversion for misdemeanor offenses and certain felonies to be eligible for expungement. The bill does not include forcible felonies, such as murder or sexual battery, or certain felonies involving weapons.

“This bill will improve lives for individuals and families across the state, and help our economy and businesses by breaking down barriers to employment,” said FRRC Executive Director Desmond Meade.

Having an arrest record can impact a young person’s ability to get into college or the military and to find a job and place to live. When young people leave a diversion program with a record still hanging over them, it makes it difficult to become a productive, taxpaying member of society. Thousands of youth who go through diversion would benefit from this type of reform. FRRC believes HB 195 gives young adults a second chance to turn their lives around and will help improve the economy and the community.

The House unanimously approved the bill on February 24, 2022. The Senate passed the bill unanimously and without debate on March 8, 2022. Gov. Ron Desantis signed the bill into law on May 12, 2022. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

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About the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

FRRC is a grassroots, membership organization run primarily by Returning Citizens (Formerly Convicted Persons) who are dedicated to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions and creating a more comprehensive and humane reentry system that will enhance successful reentry, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety..

For interview requests or further information contact Kinyatta Wright at kinyatta@floridarrc.org, or at the phone number, 407-664-6451.