WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has introduced a bill that would seal a recovering drug addict’s criminal record if they first successfully take part in a drug treatment program.

The Clean Start Act would allow people with a federal crime conviction caused by one’s drug use to go through an addiction treatment program, and later petition a federal court to clean their criminal record.

The one-year program would have to be licensed or certified by a state or national accreditation body.

The person would also have to provide six months of service as a drug addiction recovery mentor. If that opportunity is not available, the person could conduct six months of volunteer service.

“Since many employers are unlikely to even consider a job applicant with a criminal record, the impact of a past conviction weighs upon these former addicts long after they have served their time,” Manchin said in a statement. “This all-too-common barrier to employment contributes to the continuing cycle of addiction and incarceration that has been so hard to break.”

This would only be open to nonviolent offenders.

According to the bill, states would also be encouraged to adopt comparable programs for people with similar, state-level convictions.

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