A Legal Action Center public policy priority

Legal Action Center is advocating for passage of the REDEEM Act!

The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act of 2015 would:

  • Create a mechanism for adults and youth to have certain records for federal offenses sealed or expunged;
  • Provide incentives for states to adopt similar sealing provisions for state crimes;
  • Lift the lifetime ban on receiving SNAP and TANF benefits for individuals with certain convictions and create a pathway for other individuals to have their right to receive benefits restore;
  • Require the FBI to improve the accuracy and completeness of background check records it provides

The broad availability of criminal record information makes it unnecessarily difficult for millions of Americans with criminal records to find employment. Most states allow employers to refuse to hire people with criminal records even if they have paid their debt to society and demonstrated their ability to work without risk to the public. The information in criminal record depositories is often inaccurate or incomplete, not reflecting, for example that a person may have been acquitted or had charges against them dropped. 


Get Involved!

You can help get Congress to pass this critical legislation. Here’s how:


REDEEM Act in the House, H.R. 1672

Do you want to know more about the House of Representatives version of the REDEEM Act? Click here.


REDEEM Act in the Senate, S. 675

Do you want to know more about the Senate version of the REDEEM Act? Click here.


Sample Tweet and Talking Points

Sample Tweet

I stand w/ @LAC_news in support of @CoryBooker’s & @RandPaul’s #REDEEM Act bc people deserve #secondchances. http://ow.ly/MhJWT

Sample Talking Points

  • The widespread availability of criminal history information and increasing prevalence of criminal-justice involvement prevent qualified people from getting work to support themselves and their families and contribute their skills and energy to their community and the economy.
  • Making it easier for people to find work promotes public safety by reducing recidivism and lowers the economic and social costs of crime and unemployment.

  • The REDEEM Act would reduce the burden of a criminal record for many people who deserve a chance to make a new reputation for themselves.
  • When people with drug convictions are denied food stamps and cash benefits, finding stability during reentry becomes more difficult and recidivism and relapse become more likely.
  • Although many states have modified or opt-out of it altogether, the lifetime drug-felony ban on nutrition and cash assistance (SNAP and TANF) is harmful to families and inconsistent with a public health approach to substance use.

For more information or media inquiries

Mark O’Brien, Senior Criminal Justice Policy Associate

[email protected]


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