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.
Clean slate bolsters the economy by expanding access to work for job seekers with criminal records, explains Uber’s senior manager for public affairs in Pennsylvania. If just 100 people with criminal records were able to secure jobs in the region, it would yield $55 million in wages and $1.9 million in taxable income over the course of a lifetime. Automatic record-clearing proposals, such as Pennsylvania’s clean slate law, help ensure that a past mistake does not stand in the way of earning a living.
For Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, and Torrey Smith, a day off from their full-time jobs as players for the Philadelphia Eagles consists of meetings about criminal justice reform with Pennsylvania states legislators. Jenkins, Long, and Smith are fierce advocates for clean slate legislation, which automatically seals criminal records for people with minor, nonviolent convictions who have stayed crime-free for 10 years. Sealing criminal records is a way for people otherwise barred from jobs, education, and housing, to receive a second chance at life.
Despite their political differences, Pennsylvania Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28) and Pennsylvania Rep. Jordan Harris (D-186) are teaming up to push the Clean Slate Act—a bill that would automatically seal criminal records for people who stay out of trouble. They’ve brought together a diverse coalition of bipartisan lawmakers in support of the bill, which has also earned approval from more than 80 percent of Pennsylvania voters. With strong support on both sides of the aisle, Pennsylvania’s bill is poised to become the first clean slate law in the country.
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.
Pennsylvania Rep. Jordan Harris (D-186) announces the introduction of the Clean Slate Act, supported by a broad coalition of advocates, district attorneys, and lawmakers across party lines. The first-in-the-nation legislation, which is co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-88), would automatically seal eligible criminal records for Pennsylvanians who remain crime-free for a set period of time. A similar version of the bill has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate, with support from Pennsylvania Sens. Scott Wagner (R-28) and Anthony Williams (D-8).
Removing Barriers to Opportunity for Parents With Criminal Records and Their Children: A Two-Generation Approach
Analysis from the Center for American Progress finds that nearly half of American children have at least one parent with a criminal record. The barriers associated with a parent’s record can undermine family stability and limit a child’s long-term cognitive development, educational achievement, and even their future employment outcomes.