The Clean Slate NY Coalition held a press conference with elected New York City officials today to pass the Clean Slate Act before the end of the legislative session on June 2.
The Coalition was joined by City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, City Comptroller Brad Lander, resolute sponsor Nantasha Williams, bill sponsor State Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, and Council Members Shaun Abreu, Althea Stevens, and Sandy Nurse, alongside formerly incarcerated people, union representatives, and faith leaders.
“For more than 2.3 million New Yorkers, access to employment, housing, education, and other economic opportunities can be blocked because of an old record, no matter how many years have passed,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Removing this barrier will not only benefit millions of New Yorkers and their families, but it will also boost our state’s economy, strengthen small businesses, and contribute to the safety, stability, and well-being of our neighborhoods. The Council is proud to urge passage of the Clean Slate Act in our state legislature by passing Resolution 121, and I thank Council Member Williams for her leadership in sponsoring the resolution. This is a model for how stakeholders can work together to advance opportunities for all New Yorkers, and we look forward to seeing the bill passed.”
The Clean Slate Act would address the systemic barriers many Black, Brown and Latinx individuals face when applying to jobs, housing or education posed by old conviction records. 2.3 million New Yorkers have a criminal record, and 80% of ex-convicts in NYC are Black or Latinx.
“Clean Slate will help to eliminate the potential collateral damage of a conviction record,” said Rev. Kevin Vanhook, Executive Director of Clean Slate will help to ensure that all people can fully and fairly participate in our shared community. Rooted in supporting human dignity and fairness, Clean Slate will ensure that a criminal record no longer means a lifetime of blocked opportunities. And in the spirit of this season, as we prepare to witness ordinary resurrections, Clean Slate allows all of us to find new life on the other side. Today, we gather to celebrate what will only be the beginning of that new life.”
Under this new legislation, New Yorkers would be eligible to have their records automatically sealed 3 years from sentencing misdemeanors and 7 years for felonies. To be eligible for this relief, individuals must have completed probation, parole, or post-release supervision. They cannot have incurred any new convictions during the three- or seven-year waiting period.
“There are far too many New Yorkers, who are just like me, that have been incarcerated and continue to suffer from a record even after you have done your time. We need the state legislature to pass Clean Slate immediately,” said Gregory Pierce, a member of Center for Community Alternatives. “Many of us have families that we need to take care of, a community we want to give back to, and dreams we want to live to see. But how can we do any of those things if we are barred from finding stable and safe housing or when we can’t get a job to take care of ourselves, not to mention our families. We need real relief, we need to provide for our families, and we need the legislature to pass Clean Slate.”