Today the New York Senate and Assembly passed the Clean Slate Act. The bill would automatically “seal” certain criminal records after a waiting period (three years for misdemeanors and eight for felonies) and only if the person doesn’t commit a new offense. The legislation awaits the governor’s signature.
Ames Grawert, senior counsel in the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:
“The Clean Slate Act is a great victory for racial and economic justice in New York State. Our state disproportionately imprisons people of color, and our research shows that New Yorkers with criminal records collectively lose $12.6 billion in earnings every year. By sealing criminal records, the Clean Slate Act would give millions of New Yorkers who are trying to rebuild their lives a better chance at jobs, college, and housing.
“We thank the sponsors on their years of work on this legislation, as well as the diverse coalition that rallied around it. The governor should sign the Clean Slate Act without delay. We look forward to working with state leaders in the years ahead to ensure the bill lives up to its potential.”
Brennan Center resources
• “New Data on Poverty and Criminal Records in New York State” (May 2023)
• “The Clean Slate Act Can Build a More Prosperous New York” (January 2023)
• “Written Testimony Submitted to the Assembly Standing Committee on Labor at the Hearing on Addressing Workforce Shortages” (November 2022)
• “Why New York’s Clean Slate Act Is Essential for Economic Justice” (September 2022)