Seal The Deal

About this Issue

The RESTORE Act was developed by DC Justice Lab and Council member Christina Henderson. If enacted, it would dramatically simplify the process for sealing or expunging a criminal record (obviating the need to hire an attorney in an ordinary case) and significantly expand the number of people eligible for relief.


This bill was developed in consultation with returning citizens, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and local and national justice reform organizations. It carefully considers the practicalities of litigation and sequestration. It also accounts for due process considerations such as the need for access to exculpatory evidence in related criminal cases.


The result is a transformative piece of legislation that would have a widespread positive impact on the employment and housing prospects of the 1 in 7 individuals currently living with publicly-available criminal records in Washington, D.C. The RESTORE Act is a bold step forward in DC’s commitment to welcoming our returning neighbors home and fostering an environment in which they can thrive.

image of the inside of a jail cell with only light coming in from jail-barred window

Quick Facts


The current record sealing eligibility requirements are confusing and official disposition records are sometimes hard to obtain. Of the 40,000 people who are arrested in DC each year, almost one-third are no-papered, yet these individuals still bear a criminal record.


From 2013 to 2017, 86% of people arrested in the District were Black. As the nation awakens to the realities of mass incarceration and racial injustice, we know too well that Black individuals face disproportionately higher rates of arrest, conviction, lengthy sentencing, and racial discrimination in employment and housing markets.


According to the Collateral Consequences Resource Center’s Reintegration Report Card, DC’s scheme ranks 40th in the nation, placing it among the most restrictive.


The RESTORE Act is comprehensive, community-informed, and easy to understand. It greatly increases access to record relief by expanding eligible offenses and using plain language, while reducing the burden on courts by automating certain instances of expungement and sealing.

Read The Bill

Read the Bill for the “The Record Expungement Simplification To Offer Relief and Equity  (RESTORE) Amendment Act of 2021”

Click Here »

Attend The Hearing

Click here to see video and read transcripts from the hearing regarding the RESTORE Act

Who Supports The Bill?

Read the list below to see which DC legislators support the RESTORE Act.