How many years in prison is enough? When someone does a crime and then does the time, legally they have successfully fulfilled their punishment for their offenses. However, in many sectors of America this is not the case. In some states with a felony conviction you can not rent an apartment, in many states with a felony conviction you cannot own a gun, many jobs will not hire you with certain convictions on your record. Therefore, in most cases a person leaves prison after doing time for a crime unable to work legally, unable to protect themselves with a weapon legally, and unable to rent or own shelter legally. They might as well have left them in jail, because the ex-con is destined to go back to jail, given that legally they can’t do anything. This is a gross mishap we have made in American Civil society, we have to decide whether after someone has done their time, they’ve paid their debt or not.
My bill proposes that upon release former prisoners have all of their rights restored and criminal records permanently sealed. If you want to hold them accountable for what they did in the past, then keep them in jail and never let them out, but letting them out is an indication that you are saying they have paid their debt to society.
My proposal would let former prisoners enter back into society as freemen, not bound to return to prison. If elected to Congress I would propose federal legislation that supersedes the states to allow all rights under the constitution fully restored to those formerly incarcerated and records permanently sealed except in the case of legal proceedings.