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.
Experts from the Economic Advisory Board of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, as well as the American Enterprise Institute, gathered at the White House to host a bipartisan discussion on criminal justice reform. The panel found that current criminal justice laws fuel mass incarceration, are a financial drain on society, and prevent formerly incarcerated people from successfully re-entering society after their debt has been paid. Nevertheless, experts across the political spectrum agree that there are cost effective, commonsense policy reforms that can be made.