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06/20/2024 04:22 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=40219
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 17, 2023 11:00 AM
From: Representative Jordan A. Harris and Rep. Sheryl M. Delozier
To: All House members
Subject: Clean Slate Expansion
 

Building upon the General Assembly’s prior commonsense criminal justice reforms, we plan to re-introduce legislation modernizing and expanding Clean Slate automated sealing to lower-level drug felonies. Unlike 35 other states, Pennsylvania does not allow for any felony sealing currently. And while more than 42 million misdemeanor and summary cases have been sealed by Clean Slate to date, helping more than 1.2 million Pennsylvanians, many of our friends and neighbors who have beat their addictions and moved on to become productive members of society are left with old drug felonies on their record.
 
This legislation aligns Pennsylvania law with best practices and evidence-based policies by expanding automated Clean Slate sealing a low-level drug felony after 10 years with a crime-free record. The drug conviction will not be eligible for sealing if a minimum sentence of imprisonment of 2.5 years or more was imposed, which excludes trafficking and other serious or violent offenses.  It also reduces the waiting period for summary offenses (from 10 years to 5) and misdemeanor offenses (from 10 years to 7). Research has found that the recidivism risk of those with a prior criminal record falls below the risk of arrest for the general population approximately after four to seven years for violent offenders, four years for drug offenders, and three to four years for property offenders.
  
Last August the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing with testimony of support for this legislation from The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, The Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, the Justice Action Network, Americans for Prosperity, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Right on Crime, and the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and those who would be directly impacted by this change of law. Ms. Geena Davis bravely told the committee about a mistake she made with drugs more than three decades ago, and one that she regrets to this day. She’s gone on to get two master’s degrees, but that low level felony drug conviction holds her back to this day. That’s who this bill is designed to help.
 
For those unfamiliar with the current clean slate statute, those convicted of the following offenses are ineligible and will continue to be ineligible for Clean Slate under this bill: offenses related to criminal homicide, offenses related to assault, offenses related to kidnapping, offenses related to human trafficking, sexual offenses, offenses against the family, and offenses involving firearms/weapons. You can see the full list here: https://www.pacourts.us/learn/learn-about-the-judicial-system/clean-slate-expungement-and-limited-access/ineligible-convictions-and-eligible-exclusions
 
Taken together, these changes would help make many thousands of Pennsylvanians more employable, productive taxpaying citizens and provide restorative justice.
 
Previous co-sponsors of HB 1826 include:
 ECKERBURGOSCIRESISCHLEGEL CULVERDALEYA. DAVISDEASYFITZGERALDFRANKELHANBIDGEHILL-EVANSHOHENSTEINHOWARDJAMESKAILKINSEYLEWISMcCLINTONMcNEILLMERSKINEILSONN.NELSONSANCHEZSAPPEYSCHLOSSBERGSHUSTERMANSOLOMONZABELSTURLASIMS and KINKEAD
 
Thank you for your consideration of co-sponsoring this important legislation.