HARTFORD – The Connecticut Senate today voted to approve a Clean Slate bill, S.B. 1019, which would allow some people living with a record of conviction to earn 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 on the basis of an erased record to seek redress through the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Senators amended the bill on the floor to remove people living with certain felony convictions from qualifying for the chance to earn an erased record.
“For Clean Slate to be real, it must include as many people as possible and prevent discrimination on the basis of an erased record. Unfortunately, the new bill before the House only checks one of these boxes. Excluding people living with a felony conviction from the chance to reenter society is part of a deeply racist legacy in the U.S., and it is disappointing that some legislators chose to double down on this harm by excluding people living with a level C felony from earning the chance at a Clean Slate,” said ACLU of Connecticut campaign manager Gus Marks-Hamilton. “Providing people with a chance at opportunity and hope builds public safety, and people living with a felony conviction can turn their lives around with help. Locking people into a permanent underclass by preventing them to reentering society just perpetuates harm, including systemic racism. We continue to support the concept of Clean Slate and would welcome this bill’s protections for some, and we expect the legislature to fix the harm of today’s amendment by coming back in a future legislative session with additional, inclusive legislation.”
“People living with a felony are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They are capable of turning their lives around with help, and they should have the chance at earning a Clean Slate. If our society is going to move forward and have truly smart justice, we have to be better than the stigma that got us to the point of needing Clean Slate in the first place,” said ACLU of Connecticut Smart Justice leader Terri Ricks.