Clean Slate Bill proposal would erase some criminal records in NY under certain conditions

Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) says it would allow people better access to jobs and housing.

News 12 Staff

Feb 24, 2021, 11:13 PM

Updated 1,147 days ago

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A criminal record can be a lifelong sentence -- but a new push would give New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society a stigma-free fresh start.
The Clean Slate Bill, currently proposed in Albany, would erase a person's criminal record after time is served.
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) says it would allow people better access to jobs and housing.
"Giving people an opportunity to have their records automatically expunged really addresses the wrongs of the racial injustice in our criminal justice system," says Solages.
Specifically, a person's misdemeanor conviction would be automatically sealed one year after sentencing, and a felony conviction would be automatically sealed three years after sentencing, so long as the person does not have pending criminal charges, is not on parole or probation and is not a registered sex offender.
Assemblyman Dave McDonough, who supports the concept in principle, says the bill is not needed. State law already allows a person with a conviction to apply to have their record erased.
"They've applied and they've been successful. There's been applications made 2,348 times -- in Nassau County it was 235 times, and in Suffolk, 199," says McDonough.
Solages says the application process is a barrier, as some might not understand the process.
Victims' rights advocate Jennifer Harrison supports the idea, but has reservations.
"I don't really see any problems as a proposed legislation, but unfortunately in New York, we've seen all too many times. What it ends up being turning into, even with the best intentions -- bail reform, discovery reform -- have been a complete disaster," says Harrison.
The bill is currently in committee in the state Senate. Supporters plan to launch a full campaign for the measure at a virtual press conference Thursday.


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