States across the country are taking action to enact clean slate policies. This toolkit includes the following ways to join the campaign and take action: talking points, frequently asked questions, sample op-eds, sample letters to the editor, and sample social media and shareable graphics.
Peter Rezk knows firsthand how the U.S. criminal justice system is failing young people of color like him. Each year, around 200,000 young people—many of whom are people of color—are caught up in the criminal justice system and arrested for minor offenses that could follow them for life. Clean slate legislation has the potential to change this system by ensuring that a criminal record is no longer a life sentence to poverty and joblessness.
The Economic Policy Institute, National Employment Law Project, and Economic Analysis and Research Network recently published a blueprint of policies, promoting good jobs, good pay, and safe workplaces, for states to take up in the upcoming legislative cycle. The agenda includes the recommendation to advance clean slate legislation, which uses technology to automatically clear criminal records for people with certain nonviolent offenses. Even a minor criminal record can create a barrier to opportunity, but clean slate legislation offers states a solution.
David Plouffe and Mark Holden are on different sides of the aisle but have come together to support clean slate legislation that will give millions of Americans a second chance and revitalize the economy. As they write in USA Today, current criminal justice laws fail at ensuring people with criminal records can get jobs, education, and housing after they have paid their debt to society—costing the United States up to $87 billion in gross domestic product every year. Passing legislation that automatically clears the records of certain criminal records is a commonsense solution that is good for individuals, good for families, and good for society.
CAP and More Than 25 Partners Launch National Bipartisan ‘Clean Slate’ Initiative to Automate Clearing of Criminal Records
The Center for American Progress announced the launch of a bipartisan initiative to advance clean slate policies in states across the country, supported by more than 25 organizations across the political spectrum. Founded with investments from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the clean slate campaign harnesses the momentum of the successful push to enact clean slate legislation in Pennsylvania. Clean slate campaigns are now underway in Michigan, Colorado, and South Carolina, with more states following suit in the near future. The initiative builds on the on early investments from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an early supporter of the movement to close the second chance gap that keeps too many eligible Americans from clearing their criminal records.
TalkPoverty featured a first-person story from someone who would directly benefit from clean slate in Pennsylvania. Donna Henderson’s criminal record kept her from job opportunities for 30 years, but thanks to the state’s clean slate law, her family now has a second chance. “I was convicted of two nonviolent misdemeanors decades ago, and they have haunted me, and my daughter, ever since,” Henderson writes. “New legislation in my home state of Pennsylvania, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law by the Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, would help people like me rebuild our lives.”