You are a staff researcher for a Georgia House Judiciary Committee examining the issue of expungement and record restriction for people convicted of crimes. The committee is looking for recommendations regarding best practices in this area. All members are wanting to enhance reintegration efforts and reduce the collateral consequences of conviction, but there is concern among some members of handicapping law enforcement and letting convicted felons escape the consequences of their punishment. Provide the committee with a balanced and evidence-based assessment and recommendation(s) for possible legal reforms.
This assignment requires going beyond assigned readings in order to gather information and evidence to understand and support potential policy options. Cited sources should be from peer-reviewed literature, official government reports, and reputable nongovernmental or research organizations. Note that there is no politically correct outcome for your policy memo, but your position needs to be strongly defended with referenced facts and evidence.
With respect to formatting and style, the policy memos should be in 12-point Times New Roman font with one-inch margins all around. The memo should be single-spaced with an additional line between paragraphs. All pages should be numbered consecutively, and use of headers, bullet points, and other standard conventions is recommended where appropriate. Citations should be in the form of endnotes, which are not included in the total page count. I highly recommend the use of bibliographic software, such as EndNote, Zotero, or Mendeley but this is not a requirement. Endnotes should be in APA format.
Your policy memo should include, at a minimum, the following sections.
Memo Header: Provide a complete and informative header that includes the full names and titles of the writer [e.g., Joe Smith, Student, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Georgia State University] and recipient(s), informative title [e.g., “Felony Disenfranchisement in Georgia and Recommendations for Improving Voting Rights and Engagement”], and date.
Introduction/Background/Problem Statement: Introduce the general issue and specific policy problem. Provide critical background information (including information on the size and scope of the problem), justification for writing the memo, key themes and/or recommendations of the memo, and a brief roadmap for what follows.
Issue Analysis: Provide a detailed yet concisely written analysis of the identified policy problem. Sufficient evidence must be marshalled to properly defend your analysis, ensuring that such evidence is factual, appropriate for the purpose, and comprehensive in scope. You may consider dividing this into subsections that address multiple aspects of the problem and potential solutions identified for consideration (which could, and perhaps should, include “doing nothing”). Discussion should identify likely winners and losers of proposed policy changes.
Recommendations: Describe your recommended course of action based on the preceding issue analysis. What specific steps should be implemented to address the problem, by whom, in what time frame? Review how you arrived at this decision (i.e., what was your methodological approach?), and clearly explain why your recommendations are best suited for addressing the policy problem.
Conclusion: Provide a brief conclusion of your analysis and recommendations, including a discussion of limitations of the analysis (e.g., insufficient data, political unwillingness to address, etc.).