The REDEEM Act Toolkit

Honorable Elijah Cummings
Honorable Elijah Cummings

H.R. 2410 The REDEEM Act

Introduced April 30, 2019 in the House of Representatives by the Honorable Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) during the 116th Congress. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Rep. Jarrold Nadler (D-NY-10) were original co-sponsors. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Agriculture, and Ways and Means.

The full title of the bill was cited as the “Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act of 2019.” A similar bill, S.697 – The Next Step Act, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) which contained a section for the REDEEM Act.

The bill would provide for the expungement of the records of nonviolent federal felony offenders after a period of time with not further criminal activity. The bill would also provide for the expungement of certain juvenile records.


The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment (REDEEM) Act is designed to make much needed sweeping changes to the criminal justice system. The act would put in place five key reforms:

  1. Incentivizes states to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old
  2. Allows for sealing and expungement of juvenile records
  3. Restricts use of juvenile solitary confinement
  4. Offers adults a way to seal non-violent criminal records
  5. Lifts ban on SNAP and TANF benefits for low-level drug offenders

This toolkit is designed to provide you with resources on various aspects of the criminal justice system, particularly those that would be impacted by the REDEEM Act. Because of the deep systemic inequities inherent in the criminal justice system, it is essential that social workers fight for reform. As you will learn through the resources in this toolkit, criminal justice reform and the prison industrial complex have far reaching social and economic effects that reach beyond the individuals incarcerated.



Criminal Justice System

Mass Incarceration

Juvenile Justice

Criminal Records

Discussion Prompts

  1. What purpose should the criminal justice system serve in our society? What reforms are necessary to get us closer to that vision of justice?
  2. Do you agree with the assertion that the criminal justice system has created a “caste system” in our society? Why or why not?
  3. In what ways should the juvenile justice system be handled differently from the adult system?
  4. What types of offenses do you believe should be eligible for expungement? Why those and not others?
  5. What role are you willing to play in supporting criminal justice reform? How can you get others engaged?