New York’s Clean Slate Act Seals Records, Advantages for Criminals

New York lawmakers want to push the 'Clean Slate Act' through so criminal records can be sealed and they can be promised a 'better future'.

New York lawmakers want to push the ‘Clean Slate Act’ through so criminal records can be sealed and they can be promised a ‘better future’.

New York Lawmakers Support “Erasing” Criminal History

As the state’s legislative session winds down, the push for a Clean Slate Act has resurfaced, with leaders of both chambers saying Wednesday they’re close to a deal and confident it will pass.

“We are definitely negotiating — I think we’re pretty close,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. 

The current version of the legislation would automatically seal the criminal records of about 2.3 million New Yorkers three years after sentencing for misdemeanors and after seven years for felonies. It does not apply to sex crimes.

That push, however, lacks a realistic examination of the law, its flaws, and its impact on public safety and an understanding of the massive undertaking sealing volumes of criminal records would require.

Lawmakers propose to expand the range of sealable convictions, automating the process without adequate consideration of logistics, risks, limitations, or public-safety effects.

What is The Clean Slate Act?

The bill will allow convicted criminals who have served their sentences, including parole and probation, to get records sealed three years after they are sentenced for misdemeanors and seven years for felonies provided they have not been convicted of other offenses in the meantime.

According to the legislative language, people convicted of sex crimes are ineligible. The proposal would still allow certain employers like law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecutors, schools, and even Uber to access sealed records.

Details continue to be negotiated on the amount of time that should pass before records become sealed, when the clock would start after a person finishes their prison sentence, and when state agencies will be prepared to begin sealing those records.

Not Everyone Likes the Proposed Law

State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-Smithtown) told The Post that Albany Democrats ought to consider their support for “Clean Slate” against the anguish felt by victims of crime and their families.

“You know what? Maybe they need to really look and speak to these families – and let these families tell [them] how they feel and right now what they’re still going through,” Mattera said.

Critics take aim at “Clean Slate” as helping convicted criminals at the expense of their victims and public safety at large, while supporters of the proposal claim it will boost the labor pool while giving people a second chance years after they have served their time, the New York Post reported.

Republican lawmakers are open to provisions of the bill, but continue to push back against the measure as a whole amid concerns about eroding public safety. Republican leaders say violent or more serious criminal offenses should not be able to be sealed. 

Get the news you need at It’s On News.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *