ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—In Brooklyn, Governor Kathy Hochul signed Clean Slate, which will seal criminal records for those convicted of a misdemeanor or some felonies, years after they’ve served their sentence.
For someone who committed a misdemeanor, their record won’t be sealed until three years after their conviction or release from jail. They must no longer be on probation or parole, and during that time, must have stayed out of legal trouble.
For a person who commits a felony, same rules apply, however their waiting period is eight years after being released from prison.
“We’re not sealing records for sex crimes or most Class A felonies,” explained Hochul. “Employers and the public have a right to know about the sex offenders and the worst violent criminals before they give them a job.”
Criminal records have prevented people from getting jobs and housing. Under the law, these records will be sealed from employers and landlords, but not for those who need to access them.
“Law enforcement will always have access to these conviction records,” said Hochul. “I’ve had law enforcement tell me they didn’t think that was the case. I said no, that’s exactly the case, whether they’re carrying out an investigation, and issuing an order of protection to protect someone, or vetting someone to work in jobs dealing with children or elderly places where a background check is required.”
Eleven other states have already passed similar laws. The Business Council supports the legislation saying it’s beneficial for the economy.
“For New York State alone over 400,000 jobs can potentially be filled,” said Crystal Griffith, The Business Council’s Director of Workforce Development
However, Republicans are against Clean Slate, including Senator Jake Ashby.
“We live in a state that already provides reasonable second chances for people, and what this bill is doing again, is removing judicial discretion,” said Ashby. “We’re seeing it done across the board. We’re painting with a broad brush and that has been the case for so many criminal justice related bills we’ve seen over the years.”
The District Attorneys Association of the State of New York is not commenting on Clean Slate at this time.
The law will go into effect in one year.