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.
In an op-ed for The Hill, Gov. Tom Wolf discusses how thousands of Pennsylvanians are one step closer to a second chance thanks to the state’s bipartisan criminal justice clean slate legislation that took effect in December 2018. Clean slate legislation not only removes barriers to opportunity for people with criminal records, but it also saves millions of taxpayer dollars and make communities safer.
In New York, more than 600,000 people are eligible to have their criminal records sealed, but only 825 people have done so. Many people are simply unaware that they are eligible for record sealing, and many more can’t navigate the process on their own. In the digital era, criminal records are available to employers, landlords, colleges, and universities. That means that any run-in with the law—no matter how long ago or how minor—can be a barrier to opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people. Clean slate legislation does the important work of automating record-clearing processes to ensure people with records get a real shot at a second chance.
In 2015, Mikhail Arroyo had a debilitating fall. After emerging from a coma, he was transferred to a nursing home in 2016. Months after the initial accident, with the help of a wheelchair and slowly regaining his speech, Mikhail left the nursing home under the care of his mother. The only problem: He had been flagged by a background check agency and was not allowed to move into the new apartment his mother found for them. When he was 20 years old, Arroyo was arrested for a retail theft of less than $150. That single interaction with the law followed Mikhail until 2017, when his lawyers helped him challenge the restrictions from the housing agency. Mikhail is one of thousands of people shut out of housing, education, and jobs because of a criminal record. Clean slate legislation could help people like Mikhail, by automatically clearing records and giving people the second chance they deserve.
Under Pennsylvania’s clean slate law, hundreds of thousands of residents will have their criminal records sealed, helping them get the second chance that they deserve. Starting the new year with commonsense reform, Gov. Tom Wolf and a bipartisan coalition of legislators are making the essential choice to “hold [people] to account for what they have done right.”
A PennLive editorial discusses how Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Act opens the door to criminal record-clearing for countless residents—many of whom will automatically have their records cleared when the law goes into full effect in June 2019. The reform represents a step forward in Pennsylvania’s ongoing criminal justice reform movement.
After Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to pass clean slate legislation, Gov. Tom Wolf launched a new program to help residents determine whether they are eligible to have their criminal record sealed under the law. The program, called My Clean Slate, will offer free legal advice to help Pennsylvanians understand how they can benefit from the reform. Learn more about how automatic record-sealing works—and why it’s important for individuals, families, communities, and the economy.