(Photo by Julie Zeglen)
Generocity is one of 15 news organizations participating in The Reentry Project, a solutions-oriented journalism initiative focusing on the challenges of prisoner reentry.
The state Senate voted unanimously yesterday in favor of a bill that would seal misdemeanor records after 10 years.
The legislation would only apply to those who avoided other convictions for at least 10 years. It’s a big win for criminal justice reform advocates like Sharon Dietrich, litigation director of Community Legal Services.
“Clean Slate, if it also passes the House, will take sealing of records to a new, much higher level,” Dietrich wrote in an email. “Many thousands of people who were eligible to have their records sealed or expunged would actually have it done, without lawyers, courts, or even knowledge about their opportunity to clear their records.”
The vote signals a step forward for those with low-level criminal convictions who have had difficulties finding meaningful employment because of their records. The legislation would also seal the records of those who have been arrested but faced no convictions.
A similar bill was introduced last spring but ultimately not brought to a vote, said CLS Communications Director Caitlin Brown.
Next, the bill must move through the House. If approved, Gov. Wolf must approve it — and he has said he will.
“So, the journey is only half over,” Dietrich said. Still, she’s hopeful, especially given the legislation’s bipartisan support thus far: The bill was co-sponsored by York’s Sen. Scott Wagner, a Republican, and Philly’s Sen. Anthony Williams, a Democrat.
“Hopefully, the broad agreement about Clean Slate in the Senate is a first step to other bipartisan criminal justice reform in PA,” Dietrich said.
From our Partners
From our Partners
Homelessness in reentry is a serious concern. Here’s what Philly is doing about it
PAR-Recycle Works continues to collect e-waste and transform lives at its new Hunting Park facility
Reawakening: Radee Hammett helps people jumpstart life after incarceration
On June 17, First Person Arts and EMOC launch a virtual event they hope will shatter misperceptions of men of color
Variety – the Children's Charity of the Delaware Valley
Director of DevelopmentApply Now
Ronald Crawford believes Meek Mill, Jay Z and Nas have something healing to say to Philly’s returning citizens
It takes a city: Dispatch from a two-month-old social enterprise
Bianca van Heydoorn and Aviva Tevah appointed to city’s new Office of Reentry Partnerships
Good food + good people + good cause = good times
Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity