Over the past several years, there has been a surge in states that are passing legislation to create new, or increase existing, record relief measures. These bills have included provisions that range anywhere from implementing a fully automated clearance system to expanding misdemeanor-only relief to include felony relief. While increasing available, and necessary, protections for convicted persons, this type of legislation has also exposed a fundamental tension between protecting individual privacy and preserving the valuable data contained within the records.
In this report, we discuss the unintended consequences of record clearance on data transparency, and other research initiatives, while acknowledging the necessity of eliminating undue harms of the criminal justice system. Our aim is to provide recommendations on how to reconcile this inherent conflict.