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Missouri’s updated expungement statute asks for gender and race

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We’d all like to be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin or our gender, unless there is some special advantage to whatever classification we can claim.

But people are people, and our long history of being unnecessarily concerned about gender and race is deep.

I happened to see one of the new forms for applying for expungement under Missouri’s 2018 statute, in which there is a blank for the sex and race of the applicant. The older expungement statutes also specified that sex and race would be a part of the application. The application also calls for a driver’s license number and date of birth, as well as case numbers for prior court records, so precise identification is not the issue.

The Missouri General Assembly has recognized that old criminal convictions, in many cases, doom those convicted to a life that cannot include holding a job and earning a wage that could help support a family.

My guess is that the legislators simply did not think about deleting the irrelevant questions about the gender or race of the applicants, as though that information has anything to do with qualification for expungement.

It is time to quit putting people in boxes for no purpose.

 

 

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