The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut’s campaign for Smart Justice released new public opinion polling on February 19, 2020 that shows support across the political and ideological spectrums for strong Clean Slate proposals.  

The research, conducted by Benenson Strategy Group between January 30 and February 5, 2020, included 510 telephone and online interviews with registered Connecticut voters across the state who indicated they were likely to vote in the 2020 general election. Thirty-six percent of participants identified as moderate, 32 percent as conservative, and 30 percent as liberal. Respondents were asked about their views on the size of Connecticut’s prison system, the purpose of the criminal justice system, treatment of people returning to society after incarceration, and their views on Clean Slate policy proposals.

Key findings include:

  • 85 percent of Connecticut voters, including 91 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of Independents, and 72 percent of Republicans, say that people who have been convicted of a crime should have a fair shot at getting their lives on track without having their prison sentence held against them.
  • When informed that Connecticut does not have a Clean Slate law, 64 percent of Connecticut voters, including 78 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 50 percent of Republicans, said it was important for the legislature to pass a Clean Slate law that is backed by anti-discrimination protections for people with a criminal history.
  • 60 percent of Connecticut voters, including 70 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of Republicans, support laws that allow people to have their criminal records automatically erased after five years without re-offense.
  • 74 percent of Connecticut voters agree that when someone who was imprisoned has earned their chance to reenter society, we should be setting them up for success, no matter what crime they were arrested for or convicted of.
  • Connecticut voters reject a “tough on crime” approach. 84 percent of Connecticut voters, including 64 percent of Republicans, agree that the main purpose of prison should be to rehabilitate people to successfully reenter society.

Results are below, and include a memo from Benenson Strategy Group regarding the poll results and the topline poll results themselves.