Center for American Progress

A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to Poverty

A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to Poverty

One Philadelphia resident explains how Pennsylvania's clean slate policies have given him a second chance at life outside of prison.

Philadelphia resident Ronald Lewis was convicted of two misdemeanors in 2004. Almost 15 years later, his record still stands in the way of employment and other opportunities. However, states like Pennsylvania are advancing clean slate policies that seal minor criminal records after a set period of time, giving people like Ronald a second chance.

Jasmine Hardy is a video editor at the Center for American Progress. Betsy Pearl is the campaign manager for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center. Rebecca Vallas is the vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Jasmine Hardy

Senior Video Producer

Betsy Pearl

Former Associate Director

Rebecca Vallas

Senior Fellow