Center for American Progress

A New Start for Pennsylvanians with Minor Criminal Records

A New Start for Pennsylvanians with Minor Criminal Records

A clean slate policy would help Pennsylvanians gain employment and provide for themselves and their families, as well as grow the commonwealth's economy.

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idea_bulbBetween 70 million and 100 million—or 1 in 3 Americans—have some type of criminal record. In Pennsylvania, this translates into nearly 3 million of the commonwealth’s citizens. Many have only minor records, such as misdemeanors, summary offenses, or arrests without conviction. Nonetheless, even a minor criminal record can present lifetime barriers to opportunity, putting jobs, housing, education, and more out of reach. Enabling Pennsylvanians with minor criminal records to earn a clean slate would make it possible for them to get past these barriers, get to work, and provide for their families—while strengthening the economy and enhancing public safety.

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