Clean Slate Proposals Target Workforce Opportunities
The Lamont administration’s clean slate legislation calls for automatic erasure of certain criminal records and certain criminal convictions to help people reenter the workforce.
The permanence of criminal records can indefinitely hinder access to or disqualify a person from education and employment opportunities.
The legislation is designed to help formerly incarcerated people overcome barriers to finding employment after leaving prison.
The governor’s bill, HB 5019, features several reforms, including erasure of all police, court, and state’s attorney and prosecution records for class C and class D misdemeanors.
Those who have served their time and remain conviction-free for seven years would have their records cleared.
Pennsylvania passed similar legislation in 2018, followed by Utah in 2019 with strong bipartisan support.
The Pennsylvania law provides immunity from liability for employers who employ an individual whose criminal record has been sealed.
If that employee is hired and subsequently commits an offense while on the job, the employer will be immune from liability for negligent hiring.
CBIA supports efforts to help citizens find work following their incarceration.
Human resources counsel Mark Soycher and CBIA Education & Workforce Partnership program manager Deb Presbie were recognized by Lamont in December for their efforts to help returning citizens find work.
“When criminal records are erased it removes a major obstacle for people who have paid their debt to society,” Soycher said. “It’s an economic necessity and a moral imperative.”
Winfield wants to include all misdemeanors except those related to family violence and Class C, D, and E felonies.
“I think we should be figuring out how we do clean slate [legislation] for everybody,” he told reporters.
“I think this makes it a much stronger bill and something that I think advocates and people who’ve been through this will feel is worth fighting for.”
For more information, contact CBIA’s Brian Corvo (860.244.1169).
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