FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 10, 2021
HARTFORD – Connecticut is now home to the strongest Clean Slate Bill in the nation. After days of pressure from community advocates and legislators, the governor signed S.B. 1019 into law Thursday. This new law will give some people living with a certain criminal record relief from the oppressive system of mass incarceration.
People living with a criminal record in Connecticut face more than 550 legal and policy barriers in areas such as housing, jobs, education, insurance and credit, and participating in public programs and services.
With the passage of S.B. 1019, some people living with a record of conviction now get the chance at an automatically erased record if they go for a defined period of time without a new conviction. The bill also includes an anti-discrimination provision to allow someone who is discriminated against based on an erased record to seek redress through the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
“All people, including people who are living with a criminal record, should have an equal opportunity to build successful and fulfilling lives,” said Gus Marks-Hamilton, a campaign manager for the ACLU of Connecticut’s Smart Justice campaign. “When a person has done their time and paid their debt to society they should be granted the right to fully participate in and contribute to society. While we are so proud of the years of work that went into making this bill a reality, we are also expecting the legislature to ensure that the people that were carved out of this opportunity for relief are included in future legislation. Connecticut is a better, more inclusive state because of this.”
“Simply put, Connecticut residents will now be able to move forward in life without a cloud following them for a price already paid,” said Smart Justice Leader Tracie Bernardi. “We have a system that on paper is cut and dry, but in reality never stops haunting. The passage of Clean Slate is a good first step in finally removing the lifelong and unnecessary barriers so many people are faced with every day. Connecticut needs to continue to address the harms caused by the racist system of mass incarceration. Clean Slate is a good first step in that process.”
This is the third year the Connecticut General Assembly considered Clean Slate legislation. In 2020, legislation introduced on Clean Slate received a public hearing but was cut short by the legislature’s closure due to COVID-19. ACLU CT will remain vigilant in the fight to ensure that Clean Slate is not further limited in the future.
For bill history regarding S.B. 1019: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2021&bill_num=1019