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Clean Slate: Changing Lives by Sealing Criminal Records


Clean Slate: Changing Lives by Sealing Criminal Records

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Update: Clean Slate passed in Pennsylvania on June 22, 2018!

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Having even a minor criminal record can serve as a barrier to nearly all basic necessities including employment and housing. Records can also stop people from furthering their education and advancing in their careers. Clean Slate will prevent minor criminal records from trapping people in poverty for life. 

Clean Slate will:

  • Automatically seal arrests where the person was not convicted, summary offenses, and many non-violent misdemeanors;
  • Expand the list of misdemeanors that can be sealed.

Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate legislation is the first of its kind in the nation and enjoys support from both Republicans and Democrats. The Clean Slate bill, HB1419, recently passed through both chambers of Pennsylvania's General Assembly, and was signed by Governor Wolf.

Here's what you need to know about Clean Slate:

Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record

A new law will expand clearing of criminal records in Pennsylvania. This fact sheet is geared towards people who are looking to clean up their records.

(Spanish version)

Clean Slate Summary

Learn what types of records qualify for Clean Slate sealing.

Flow Chart: Do You Qualify for Sealing?

Find out if you qualify to have your criminal record sealed.

Criminal Record Sealing "After Care"

What to do once your criminal record is sealed. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Clean Slate

What is Clean Slate? What is "sealing?" When does Clean Slate take effect?

Clean Slate News

"Harnessing Technology" Conference Launches Clean Slate Campaign

On November 15-16, 2018 the Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted a convening called, “Harnessing Technology to Close the Second Chance Gap.”  The meeting was an extraordinary two-day launch of a national campaign to bring the Clean Slate automated record clearing pioneered in Pennsylvania to the rest of the country. Read More

“Clean Slate” Bill Approved by Pennsylvania General Assembly

Groundbreaking Automated Record Sealing with Broad Support Will Help Pennsylvanians Get a Second Chance

Clean Slate Advocacy Toolkit

Prepared October 2017

This document is aimed at advocates, but includes some basic source material giving background on Clean Slate and the research that backs up the policy. We have included the following:

  • A basic article on the need for Clean Slate and a general outline of the policy
  • Some social science research to back clean slate (coming in a later version)
  • PA’s 2017 version of the Clean Slate bill
  • Model documents created in PA to support our Clean Slate bill
  • A White Paper on putting Clean Slate into production in PA
  • Selected client stories from PA
  • A media toolkit with articles, sample op-eds, etc.

CLS Blog: Clean Slate Takes a Step Forward

On Wednesday, April 11th, Clean Slate moved a step closer to becoming law, when PA House Bill 1419 was passed by the House by a 188-2 vote. The Senate unanimously passed a similar Clean Slate bill, on June 28, 2017. Read more.

We All Benefit from a Clean Slate for Minor Criminal Records

Over the past two decades, even the most minor criminal convictions have become lifetime barriers to the necessities of life – jobs, housing, education, and much more. The most effective public policy strategy to address these many barriers is to eliminate the record. A new proposal known as “Clean Slate” (SB 529/HB 1419) is a powerful anti-recidivism tool that will allow Pennsylvanians with minor criminal records to get past these barriers, to the benefit of the broader community. Read more.


Clean Slate Will Help Prevent Homelessness in Pennsylvania

On any given day, 15,000 Pennsylvanians experience homelessness. Rates of homelessness in Pennsylvania have increased, especially among veterans, families, and young people. The number of young Pennsylvanians who do not have shelter has increased by a third. Clean Slate can prevent homelessness. Read more.


Clean Slate is a Game-Changer for Pennsylvania Families

People with old and minor criminal records are no more likely to commit future crimes than people without records. We all make mistakes, but only some are punished forever because of them. Clean Slate would change that. Read more.