November 30, 2022

Manchin Reintroduces 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 individuals 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 continues to ravage West Virginia, and many West Virginians have criminal records related to this epidemic. Even for highly qualified individuals, criminal records make it difficult to be hired for good-paying, long-term jobs, complicating their efforts to reintegrate themselves into society. I am proud to reintroduce the Clean Start Act to help those with non-violent records work towards sealing their criminal record after they complete a one-year treatment or recovery support program, as well as serve as a recovery mentor for six months,” said Senator Manchin. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important legislation to give West Virginians and Americans the chance to rejoin their communities and help meet our workforce needs.”

The Clean Start Act will allow an individual with a felony or misdemeanor conviction for a non-violent crime petition a federal court to seal their criminal record if the individual completes two requirements:

  1. Successfully undergoes a one-year substance use disorder 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.
  2. 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.
To learn more about the Clean Start Act, click here.
The full text of the bill is available here