STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin Applauds Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for Important Steps to Give Second Chances to Individuals with Records

Washington, D.C. — Today Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that as of July 1, Philadelphia is banning the box for all non-civil service position applications. In his remarks today, Gov. Wolf also announced his support for the Clean Slate Act, which has bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature. Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

We applaud Gov. Tom Wolf for taking these important steps to enable thousands of Pennsylvanians to have a second chance. Even a minor criminal record can present lifelong barriers to the basic building blocks of economic security and mobility—such as employment and housing—and can stand in the way of successful re-entry and participation in society. Those barriers prevent not only individuals with records from moving on with their lives but also their families and, importantly, their children. This is particularly important given that nearly half of Pennsylvania’s children now have a parent with a criminal record.

Through these measures, Pennsylvania stands to make a sizable dent in its poverty rate, to boost labor-force participation, and to save taxpayer dollars through reduced incarceration costs—all while increasing public safety. CAP commends Gov. Wolf for his leadership and urge other states to follow Pennsylvania’s lead by enacting policies that help individuals with criminal records reintegrate into society, move on with their lives, and provide for their families.

CAP’s Director of State and Local Government Affairs Erin Cohan participated in Gov. Wolf’s press conference in Philadelphia earlier today, along with State Reps. Jordan Harris (D) and Tom Murt (R); Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel; and Leo Dunn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya Arditi at or 202.741.6258.

Related CAP resources: