May 19, 2021

Manchin Bill To Give West Virginians A Clean Start To Rejoin Workforce

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reintroduced the Clean Start Act, which would allow persons with a felony or misdemeanor conviction for a past non-violent crime committed as a result of substance use disorder to have their records sealed after undergoing comprehensive treatment and demonstrating a commitment to their recovery. 
“The drug epidemic has impacted every West Virginian, taking far too many lives and resulting in a workforce with opioid misuse related criminal records, not violent crime or other heinous acts, who can’t find a job willing to hire someone with a criminal record,” said Senator Manchin. “These West Virginians deserve a clean start, which is why my bill would help those with non-violent records work towards sealing their criminal record if they complete a one-year treatment program or recovery support program, and provide six months of service as a recovery mentor. I urge my bipartisan colleagues to join my legislation to give our fellow West Virginians the chance to rejoin their communities and provide valuable skills our workforce needs.”
The Clean Start Act will allow a person with a felony or misdemeanor conviction for a non-violent crime to petition a federal court to seal the person’s criminal record if the person does two things:
  • Successfully completes a one-year substance use treatment program or recovery support program that is licensed or certified by a State or national accreditation body, including peer-driven and sober-living programs.
  • Provides six months of service as a peer recovery coach. In the limited set of cases where service as a coach is not practicable, six months of volunteer service will be required.
A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to address the drug epidemic can be found here.

Background information on the Clean Start Act can be found here