Nov 17, 2023 | News Story

Governor Hochul Signs Clean Slate Act, Expanding Economic Opportunity for New Yorkers While Protecting Public Safety

Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday signed the Clean Slate Act, which seals certain criminal records and allows individuals to seek employment, housing, and educational opportunities so they can improve their lives. Records of individuals with eligible misdemeanor convictions will be sealed after three years and those with certain felony convictions after eight years, following their release from incarceration. The Clean Slate Act will not seal the records of individuals convicted of sex crimes, murder or other non-drug Class A felonies, and law enforcement, prosecutors, the NYS Education Department, courts and other groups will continue to have access to all criminal records.

A criminal record can impede an individual’s full participation in their communities after they have served their sentence. This is especially true for individuals from communities of color, who have been disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. While New York State has the lowest incarceration rate among states with more than 10 million residents, racial disparities persist. Studies show that without Clean Slate, New York is missing out on $12.6 billion in annual economic activity – the total cost of lost wages each year due to the reduced earnings of individuals with unsealed records.

"The Clean Slate legislation signed today will help uplift thousands of New York families by allowing individuals who have paid their debt to society to become productive members of their communities and help to strengthen our City’s economy,” said NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez. “The NYC Labor Movement strongly supports Clean Slate, and we applaud Governor Hochul along with our State Legislature for bringing it across the finish line.” Read more here and in the New York Times.