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New Bill Seeks to Amend Juvenile Criminal Record Laws

A new bill has been submitted for approval Thursday by state representative Mia Jones. The bill seeks to amend Florida’s policy on expunging charges from juvenile records.

As it stands, minors with criminal records who have been committed to a correctional facility must wait a maximum of five years after they turn 21 before their records can be expunged. Representative Mia Jones, of Jacksonville, has submitted an amendment Thursday morning to drop the age to 18.

While the bill doesn’t apply to juveniles with serious offenses on their records, such as murder or sexual assault, the state’s policy on the retention of lesser charges has been challenged by some child advocates who say the charge retention presents a barrier for adults from holding jobs or attaining higher learning opportunities.

Advocates also point to studies which conclude that the brain isn’t mature until the person’s 20s, which they argue makes punishing adults for lesser charges incurred as juveniles unfair.