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Pennsylvania — A law giving non-violent criminals a second chance at starting fresh has passed the state House and Senate in Pennsylvania, and was signed into law on June 28, 2018, by Governor Tom Wolf.

The Clean Slate Law allows the sealing of a non-violent criminal’s record provided he/she does not commit any more crimes for 10 years after serving his/her sentence. It also seals arrest records when charges are dropped. This mean prospective employers, landlords etc. will not get positive results from a background check. They still may ask if someone has been convicted of a crime, but if the Clean Slate Law applies to the person, he/she legally can state “no.”

According to the March 2017 memorandum submitted by Representative Sheryl M. Delozier and Rep. Jordan A. Harris, “Nearly three million Pennsylvanians – 37.5% or more than one-third – of the Commonwealth’s working-age citizens, are estimated to have criminal records. Many have only minor offenses, such as misdemeanors, while others simply have arrests without conviction. Unfortunately, having even a minor criminal record carries lifelong barriers that can block successful re-entry and participation in society. What’s more, nearly half of Pennsylvania children have a parent with a record, and the associated barriers to employment, housing, and more can impact family life.”

Lamar Green

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