A new state program went into effect in late December that supporters see as a major tool to helping prevent recidivism and help people not be held back in life by non-violent misdemeanor offenses that occurred more than a decade ago.
The “Clean Slate” act establishes a set of automated rules for the sealing of records:
- Arrests that did not result in convictions will be sealed within 60 days.
- Summary convictions will be sealed after 10 years.
- Some second and third-degree misdemeanor offense convictions will be sealed if there are no additional convictions after 10 years.
First-degree misdemeanors can also be sealed but require a petition. The automated sealing processes will begin on June 28, 2019.
Sealed records may still be accessed by law enforcement and official “background check” type jobs. Sealing is a different process than expungement which may still be pursued separate from the Clean Slate program. According to Community Legal Services, the most important thing you can do to participate in this program is have paid all your court fines and costs you owe.
The program achieved bipartisan support in the Pennsylvania congress, with State Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland County) telling Penn Live, “A minor mistake more than a decade ago should not keep someone from obtaining employment or renting an apartment.”
Contact MidPenn Legal Services or the Public Defender of Lebanon County for legal guidance in this process. You may also try contacting Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, which has a program in place specifically for the Clean Slate rollout.
The Clean Slate program was supported locally by Female Opportunities Re-entry Program of Lebanon County.
All Lebanon County legislators voted for the bill, including State Sen. Mike Folmer as well as State Reps. Russ Diamond, Sue Helm, and Frank Ryan.
Watch this video for a more personal perspective on the impact this program might have.