Briefcase: Sealing Juvenile Records

Guest: Katya Dow


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In Texas, when a young person is arrested a permanent juvenile record is created and remains in existence, unless it is sealed. Katya Dow, with The University of Houston Law Center, runs the Juvenile and Capital Advocacy Project and explains why records are sealed.

"Sealing a record is the only way to ensure a person will not continue to suffer consequences from youthful offenses," Professor Dow said. "Having a juvenile record, even if charges were dismissed, can create barriers in securing employment, applying to college, enlisting in the military and obtaining housing assistance. An unsealed juvenile record can make it difficult to get past these mistakes."

"There has been a push for ‘clean slate' initiatives because of a growing awareness that criminal arrest records bar individuals from becoming productive members of society," Dow continued. "Very often, these offenses bear no relationship to their actions as adults. The Juvenile and Capital Advocacy Project help seal juvenile records, so that young people get a second chance to be productive citizens, and society benefits."