STATEMENT: Pennsylvania on the Brink of Making History with Passage of Clean Slate Act, Says CAP’s Rebecca Vallas

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Pennsylvania State Senate took final action to send the Clean Slate Act to Gov. Tom Wolf (D) to be signed into law. The bipartisan legislation would automatically seal certain minor nonviolent misdemeanor records for people who stay crime-free for ten years, as well as arrest records that never led to conviction, without a waiting period. The bill had already cleared the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where it passed with strong bipartisan support. The Center for American Progress is proud to have worked with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia to develop the “clean slate” model originally proposed in the One Strike and You’re Out report in 2014. Rebecca Vallas, vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at CAP, released the following statement in response to today’s vote:

With today’s vote, Pennsylvania is truly on the brink of making history. Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Act represents a groundbreaking step toward putting second chances within reach, by ensuring that people with minor criminal records can move on with their lives and become productive members of society once they’ve proven their rehabilitation by remaining crime-free. I applaud Pennsylvania legislators for their bipartisan commitment to ensuring that a minor criminal record is no longer a life sentence to poverty. CAP is proud to have worked with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and other coalition partners over the past three years to help Pennsylvania become a national leader on criminal justice reform and second-chance policies by being the first state to pass legislation of this kind. I urge Gov. Wolf to sign the Clean Slate Act into law, so that tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians and their families can finally have the second chance they deserve.

Polling by our partner, the Justice Action Network, finds that 81 percent of Pennsylvanians support the Clean Slate Act, and new research from the Center for American Progress reveals that 70 percent of voters nationwide support clean slate policies.

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For more information on the Clean Slate Act or to speak with an expert, please contact Sally Tucker at sstucker@americanprogress.org or 202.481.8103.