Improve the Juvenile Record Sealing Process and Limit Access to Juvenile Records

Policy Background:

Youth who have been through the juvenile court system must have their privacy protected; this is a critical component of their rehabilitation. Indeed, significant barriers to education, employment, housing, and other services can stem from a juvenile delinquency record or from the unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential records.

Texas policy-makers should require juvenile records to be automatically sealed unless the prosecutor moves to have it unsealed.
 

Key Facts:

  • Most juvenile records are fully open to employers, landlords, and schools because they are not on “restricted access.” This can negatively impact a person’s ability to attend school or access jobs and housing.
  • Low-level youthful offenses seldom lead to serious crimes. A tracking study by Texas’ Legislative Budget Board revealed that only 1.8% of youth who entered deferred prosecution in 2011 were incarcerated in the following three years.1
     

Relevant Bills:

  • Bill Number: SB 1304 [Perry; Sponsor: White]
    Bill Caption: Relating to confidentiality, sharing, sealing, and destruction of juvenile records.
    Senate Hearing Notice: Criminal Justice, April 4, 2017


Other Bills Related to Juvenile Records:

Other Materials:


1 Legislative Budget Board, Statewide Criminal and Juvenile Justice Recidivism and Revocation Rates, February 2015, p. 3.