Center for American Progress

State momentum in criminal record sealing fuels federal clean slate bill
In the News

State momentum in criminal record sealing fuels federal clean slate bill

Rebecca Vallas and Nila Bala explain how bipartisan clean slate legislation, which would create a federal process for sealing criminal records, would remove barriers to housing, employment, and education for people across the country.

Lawmakers in Congress are soon set to hear a bipartisan proposal that has the potential to help tens of thousands of Americans get a second chance by creating the first ever federal process for sealing criminal records. The impact of this would be profound when you consider the fact that one in three Americans across the country have some type of criminal record.

That translates to between 70 million and 100 million people confronting barriers to employment, education, and housing even after completing a sentence. For millions of Americans, a criminal record is a life sentence to poverty. In this digital era, with nine in 10 employers, four in five landlords, and three in five colleges using background checks, any record no matter how old or minor can put the basics of life permanently out of reach.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Hill. Click here to view the full article.

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Rebecca Vallas

Senior Fellow

Nila Bala