Automatic sealing of criminal records takes effect on one-year clean slate anniversary
Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today participated in a press conference to celebrate the one-year anniversary of signing Clean Slate into law and to announce that automatic sealing of criminal records begins today. Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to enact this type of law.
“This bill is about changing people’s lives”, said State Rep. Jordan Harris, Democratic Whip.
Gov. Wolf spoke at a press conference organized by Justice Action Network and Community Legal Services where legislators, criminal justice advocacy groups, attorneys, and people affected by Clean Slate spoke about how the law is being implemented and already helping millions wipe clean past criminal records to remove barriers to employment, housing, and education.
“Today, as the Clean Slate provision for automatic record sealing goes into effect, we will be freeing thousands of people from the handcuffs of history,” Gov. Wolf said. “These are people who have spent 10 years or more without reoffending or in some cases who were never found guilty or had their charges dropped.
“These are people who couldn’t shake the stigma of making a mistake because our faulty criminal justice system didn’t allow them to. I’m proud of the work we’ve done with the General Assembly and the legislators here today to right this wrong.”
Around 2.5 millions records will be sealed each month over the next year, starting with the most recent cases. This means that all non-convictions from the past 10 years will be sealed over the next few months, before any convictions will be sealed. The courts will be generating individual orders when cases are sealed, which the people whose cases have been sealed can retrieve at the county courts if they would like to have them.
“These are folks who can actually make our communities better,” said Gov. Wolf. “As they make their lives better.”
“June 28 will be a banner day for this nation,” Sharon Dietrich, Litigation Director, Community Legal Services, said. “It is not only the first day on which criminal cases will be sealed by automation in this country, but when the 2.5 million cases are sealed in our 67 counties this month, that number may surpass all of the cases ever sealed in the United States. And 11 more months of the same will follow. I am so proud that Pennsylvania has pioneered automated sealing to so powerfully provide second chances to our friends and neighbors.”
To see if your criminal record will be automatically sealed, visit MyCleanSlatePA.com
Source: Governor’s Office of Communications