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.
Gov. Tom Wolf has now signed the Clean Slate Act, which passed both chambers of the Pennsylvania Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. The Clean Slate Act provides a major step forward for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians with criminal records who have paid their debt to society. This law will not only help individuals with records and their families, but will also strengthen the economy, reduce recidivism, boost public safety, and save taxpayer dollars.
CAP’s Neera Tanden, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA), and Co-Founder of the Players Coalition Malcolm Jenkins on Enactment of Pennsylvania’s Bipartisan Clean Slate Legislation
Pennsylvania has become the first state in the nation to pass clean slate legislation, offering thousands of people who have paid their debt to society a real second chance. The legislation will provide for automatic sealing of certain criminal records for individuals who remain crime-free for a set period of time. Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians will now get the second chance they’ve earned.
The Pennsylvania state Senate unanimously passed the Clean Slate Act, and the bill is now headed to the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf. The Clean Slate Act, also known as H.B. 1419, automatically seals the criminal records for minor, nonviolent offenders, removing a large, expensive administrative burden and opening the doors to opportunity for thousands of Pennsylvanians who have paid their debt to society. Once Gov. Wolf signs the bill into law, Pennsylvania will become the first state pass clean slate legislation.
Nearly 1 in 3 Pennsylvania adults has some type of criminal record—creating obstacles to education, housing, and employment. Monday, Pennsylvania’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved clean slate legislation, which would automatically seal minor, nonviolent criminal records for people who have remained crime-free for 10 years. The measure, which has bipartisan support, is also supported by 81 percent of Pennsylvanians.
A 2018 study from the Center for American Progress finds that, across party lines, American voters believe people who have paid their debt to society deserve a second chance. The poll finds 70 percent support for clean slate automated record-clearing, including 75 percent support among Democrats and 66 percent support among Republicans.
People with criminal records face barriers to jobs, training, education, and housing every day—which can often lead to a lifetime of poverty. By sharing first-hand experiences, people with criminal records can make their voices heard and raise awareness about unjust policies and practices that prevent people who have paid their debt to society from getting a second chance.