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NCJ Number: 67027 Find in a Library
Title: DOES THE FEDERAL YOUTH CORRECTIONS ACT REMOVE THE 'LEPER'S BELL' FROM REHABILITATED OFFENDERS?
Journal: FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW  Volume:7  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1979)  Pages:395-422
Author(s): R S HARNSBERGER
Corporate Author: Sri Lanka Prison Headquarters
Sri Lanka
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: Sri Lanka Prison Headquarters
Columbo 9,
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS EXAMINATION OF THE FEDERAL YOUTH CORRECTIONS ACT'S (FYCA) SECTION 5021 CONCLUDES THAT THE LAW AND RELATED COURT DECISIONS FAIL TO REMOVE THE STIGMA OF CONVICTION FROM YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS.
Abstract: THE FYCA, PASSED IN 1950, IS A COMPREHENSIVE SENTENCING STATUTE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION FOR PEOPLE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND 22 WHO ARE CONVICTED IN FEDERAL COURTS. UNDER SECTION 5021, IF AN OFFENDER IS UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASED FROM COMMITMENT OR DISCHARGED FROM PROBATION BEFORE THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE EXPIRES, THE CONVICTION IS AUTOMATICALLY SET ASIDE. THE OFFENDER IS GIVEN A CERTIFICATE TO THAT EFFECT. NEVERTHELESS, THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DOES NOT ERASE THE OFFENDER'S RECORD OR LIMIT DISTRIBUTION OF A PERSON'S CONVICTION DATA. THE IMPACT IS ESPECIALLY HARSH IN THE AREAS OF EMPLOYMENT AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSING. ALTHOUGH EARLY COURT DECISIONS REFLECTED THE VIEW THAT THE STATUTE WAS A REHABILITATIVE LAW, SOME FEDERAL JUDGES, BEGINNING IN 1975, HAVE REJECTED THE VIEW THAT SECTION 5021 AUTHORIZES EXPUNGEMENT OF A YOUNG PERSON'S RECORD. THE MOST DRACONIAN AND DEMORALIZING DECISION HAS BEEN UNITED STATES VS. MCMAINS. EXAMINATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE FYCA SHOWS THAT THE MCMAINS DECISION CONFLICTS WITH THE REHABILITATIVE AND HUMANITARIAN IDEAS CONGRESS HAD IN MIND WHEN IT PASSED THE FYCA. GIVEN THE CURRENT DIVERSITY OF OPINION ABOUT THE LAW, FEDERAL LAW WILL NOT OPERATE UNIFORMLY THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY UNTIL THE SUPREME COURT OR CONGRESS BRINGS ABOUT NATIONAL UNIFORMITY OF INTERPRETATION AND PRACTICE. ONE OF THE FOLLOWING COURSES OF ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN: (1) A SUPREME COURT DECISION THAT SECTION 5021 REQUIRES EXPUNGEMENT OF RECORDS, (2) AMENDMENT OF SECTION 5021 TO REQUIRE SEALING OF FILES UPON DISCHARGE, (3) PROVIDING FOR REMOVAL OF RECORDS TO SEPARATE FILES NOT RELEASED EXCEPT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND RELATED PURPOSES, AND (4) MAKING IT AN UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST A PERSON BECAUSE OF THE CONVICTION UNLESS THE OFFENSE RELATES TO THE DUTIES INVOLVED. EXPUNGEMENT OF RECORDS IS THE BEST ALTERNATIVE. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (CFW)
Index Term(s): Conviction records; Critiques; Expungement or sealing of records; Federal Code; Judicial decisions; United States of America; US Supreme Court; Youthful offenders
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67027

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