New York & the Clean Slate Act

“The best crime-fighting tool is a good-paying job. That’s why I support giving New Yorkers a clean slate after they’ve paid their debt to society and gone years without an additional offense,” said New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul. Criminal records oftentimes hinder an individual’s potential for full and positive participation in their communities. While New York State has the lowest incarceration rates (among states with 10 million residents) discrimination persists. To combat this, New York State has officially joined the Clean Slate Initiative.

In November of 2023, Governor Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act (S.7551A/A.1029C) which will allow eligible criminal records to be sealed years after an individual is sentenced or released from incarceration if they have not been convicted of additional criminal acts. Following release, individuals with eligible misdemeanor convictions will be sealed after three years, while those with certain felony convictions, after eight years.

Public safety is taken into consideration and certain crimes, such as sex crimes, murder, and other non-drug Class A felonies, are ineligible to be sealed. However, under this new law, law enforcement, prosecutors, the New York State Education Department, courts, and various other groups will still have access to all criminal records.

Governor Hochul also touched on the worker shortage in New York State, stating there are an estimated 450,000 job openings. While the Clean Slate Act will not take effect until November 16, 2024, it’s expected to make a big impact in the community for workers and businesses alike. Studies show that New York State is missing out sans a Clean Slate Act; an estimated annual earning loss due to conviction of $12.6 billion. Additionally, the New York State Office of Court Administration will be provided up to three years from that date to implement the processes necessary to review and seal all eligible records.

Over the years, New York State has made various other efforts to help people with criminal convictions, and especially those estimated 25,000 who are returning to their communities after prison sentences. These efforts include but are not limited to, reinstating the right to vote for parolees, implementing fair-chance hiring at state agencies, removing outright bans on occupational licenses, and prohibiting discrimination at state-financed housing based solely on an individual’s criminal record.

Currently, there are only 12 states who have passed laws for a Clean Slate, but there are several active campaigns for change.

  • Pennsylvania (2018)
  • Utah (2019)
  • New Jersey (2019)
  • Michigan (2020)
  • Connecticut (2020)
  • Delaware (2021)
  • Virginia (2021)
  • Oklahoma (2022)
  • Colorado (2022)
  • California (2022)
  • Minnesota (2023)
  • New York (2023)

Learn more about eliminating criminal barriers at https://www.cleanslateinitiative.org/

Background Checks – Myth vs. Fact

Medical Sanctions Screening

10 Ways to Help Ensure Fair Hiring

Affiliates

Have a
Question?