More Jamaicans could benefit from expungement

May 24, 2024
Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck. - Contributed photo.

The Government is exploring the possibility of giving more persons the opportunity to benefit from expungement. 

In this regard, Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, will be making a submission to Cabinet for consideration and possible approval.  

Expungement involves the formal removal of a conviction from an individual’s criminal/police record after a specific period of time has elapsed and after certain requirements have been met. 

“A number of persons apply for expungement but we have limited it to a few cases and also the sentence must not be over five years. It is an area that we are looking at carefully because there are many persons who have had a sentence over five years, sometimes 10 [or] 12 years,” Chuck said.  

“They have served their sentence, they are in their communities, they have lived 20 years without any further conviction, and we need to really examine carefully whether, in those cases, an expungement could be provided. It’s a matter that I’m taking to Cabinet and have discussions before I take it to Parliament,” he added. 

Chuck was making his contribution to the 2024/25 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 21. 

Persons who would like their records to be expunged may make an application through the Ministry of Justice, to be reviewed by the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Board. 

To qualify for expungement, the offence in question must be one that attracts a non-custodial sentence or sentence of imprisonment not exceeding five years. 

The person in question must also not have had any other convictions during a specified period of time referred to as the ‘Rehabilitation Period’. 

Offences such as the import and export of narcotics, for example, cocaine and marijuana; murder, rape, and some offences under the Malicious Destruction of Property Act, such as arson, cannot be expunged under the current law. 

- JIS News

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