Greene: Collateral consequences

Colorado News Collaborative: I’m writing today not about a piece of journalism, but rather a piece of legislation against which our new colleague, John Ferrugia, and I have been testifying at the State Capitol. 

Colorado House Bill 1214 seeks to seal wide swaths of criminal records – many automatically – from public view, threatening the work reporters do uncovering patterns of excessive force, racial profiling and other abuses of police power as well as holes in the state’s regulatory system.

The so-called “collateral consequences” bill is motivated by good intentions. Sponsors say it would give many Coloradans a second chance by keeping prospective employers or landlords from knowing they have certain kinds of low- and mid-level arrests and/or convictions. Proponents point out that because Black and Brown Coloradans long have been disproportionately accused and convicted of crimes, the bill could help untangle many people of color from a thicket of lifelong systemic oppression.

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