Clean Slate Legislation Heads to the GovernorMay 28, 2021
Under existing law, Connecticut residents can apply to the Board of Pardons and Parole to have their criminal records expunged three years after the disposition of a misdemeanor and five years after a felony. The application process is burdensome, costly, bureaucratic, and subjective. This process needs to change.
SB 1019, also known as the “clean slate” bill is the solution. This bill would expunge the records of persons convicted of misdemeanors and lower-level felonies if they stayed free of additional offenses for seven or ten years, depending on the crime, after completion of their sentences.
Let me be clear, violent criminals and sex offenders are people that I don’t believe should qualify for expungement and in this bill they don’t. Additionally, for the past two weeks, I have been part of a group of Democrats in the House of Representatives insisting that non-violent sexual offenses and crimes directed at children and other vulnerable victims be stricken from the list of crimes eligible for expungement.
Some of the eligible crimes we fought to exclude from expungement include second-degree strangulation or suffocation, third-degree possession of child pornography that includes having fewer than 20 pictures, and second-degree assault of an elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant, or intellectually disabled person with a firearm.
I have always been an advocate for victims and in reviewing the bill I took into consideration those voices, the fact that some crimes were pleaded down, and that people convicted of gun charges can later be eligible for a gun permit after their record was expunged. I'm proud to say that our efforts to revise the bill worked in the form of an amendment that passed with bipartisan support.
We have the opportunity now to give people the opportunity to re-enter society and meaningfully contribute to their communities, and that can only be done by finally eliminating the stigma of a conviction. When people's records are erased, they gain access to jobs, housing, and higher education. Recidivism rates dramatically decrease as a result. That makes everyone safer.
The clean slate bill passed the House of Representatives today with my support and the accompanying amendment and now heads to the Governor’s desk.