March 30, 2023 2 min read

Lawmakers look to reduce recidivism through automatic expungement

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is supporting lawmakers’ efforts to reduce recidivism by making it easier to have a criminal record expunged.

This week, the House Judiciary Committee heard HB 352, also known as the Clean Slate Bill, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters), and HB 753, sponsored by Rep. Justin Hicks (R-Lake St. Louis). Both bills create an automatic expungement process. If passed, no petition would be required to have eligible offenses, misdemeanors or felonies expunged.

The current petition process is costly, said Rep. Christofanelli, and as a result, only a small number of eligible Missourians have had their records expunged.

“We face a workforce shortage, and after people serve their time, we want them to reenter the workforce and become productive members of society,” Christofanelli said. “There is a high likelihood that people reoffend after they leave the criminal justice system, and often that is because they can’t access a stable job or housing. We want to reduce recidivism, we want to encourage economic growth, and we want to give folks a second chance.”

Companion bills, SB 347 by Sen. Curtis Trent (R-Springfield) and SB 531 by Sen. Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City), have been filed in the Senate.

The Missouri Chamber is also supportive of efforts by Sen. Brian Williams (D-University City), SB 36, and Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville), SB 189, to make the expungement process easier through measures like:

  • Removing the cap on the number of records that can be expunged,
  • Shortening the time in which a person can petition to expunge their arrest record from three years after arrest to 18 months,
  • Removing the $250 filing fee.

In 2022, the Missouri Chamber released a public safety report, Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri, which includes recommendations to address crime in our state, including reducing recidivism among those on probation and parole. As a result, the Missouri Chamber supports this effort to reform the expungement process and reduce recidivism by making it easier for justice-involved individuals to find stable housing and employment.

Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber, testified in support.

“You hear all this talk about workforce, workforce, workforce from the business community, and this is a top concern,” Corches said. “We know that recidivism can be deterred with employment, and this provides people with a great opportunity to secure employment.”

For more information, contact Corches at or 573-634-3511.


Related Resources