West Virginia is working on implementing a number of initiatives that would open doors to the workforce for non-violent offenders. Senator Joe Manchin told the Register Herald, “We’re in a state where less than 50 percent of working-age adults are working .” Some of these people simply cannot find employment because of drug-related felony convictions.
Part of the problem in West Virginia is the 10-year waiting period before an individual can apply to have their record cleared. Expungement law advocates in West Virginia are trying to shorten this time frame. Under current Michigan law, a person must wait 5 years from their release from incarceration, or their discharge from probation, whichever is later, before becoming eligible to apply for an expungement .
Michigan is one of the most liberal states when it comes to expungements. Many states, like West Virginia, require a person to wait much longer before becoming eligible to apply, and others do not even have expungement laws on the books. For West Virginia, getting people back to work will provide an opportunity for them to have a sense of community and empowerment .
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