Study: Myth Spreads That Youth Records Automatically Sealed

Mar 16, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine — A new study by two university researchers in Maine says attorneys, court clerks, corrections officers and judges help spread the myth that juvenile court records are automatically sealed when offenders turn 18.

Juvenile court records are not automatically sealed in Maine and 23 other states. Some juvenile records are confidential, but others are available to the public.

The Portland Press Herald reports Susy Hawes and Erica King, of the University of Southern Maine, say in a new report that many people they spoke to in the youth system believed the myth and repeated it.

The duo says juvenile records are also essentially indistinguishable from adult criminal charges.

Attorneys, prosecutors and offenders involved in the system will discuss the findings on Thursday.

Correction: The Associated Press reported erroneously the confidentiality status of juvenile records. Some juvenile records are confidential, not all.