Senate Approves Bill to Help More Pennsylvanians Benefit from Clean Slate

HARRISBURG – The State Senate approved a key criminal justice reform bill today that would allow more Pennsylvanians with criminal records to be expunged if certain conditions are met, according to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), who supported the bill.

“I believe this will help to provide access to well-paying jobs by removing a serious barrier to employment, housing, education and other critical services for individuals who are otherwise unable to complete the process of criminal record expungement due to the cost,” Corman said.   “The legislation builds on the success of the state’s Clean Slate Law, which has already led to the automatic sealing of more than 35 million minor criminal records. It will help folks to move on with their lives.”

Under current law, an individual who receives a pardon or is not convicted of a crime must pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in legal fees to file for expungement.

House Bill 440 would provide for the automatic expungement of criminal records after an individual is fully acquitted of an offense, as well as automatically sealing crimes granted pardons until the expungement process is complete.

Under the bill, individuals would still be responsible for paying all court-ordered restitution in order to qualify for record sealing. However, they would not face the additional costs of navigating the criminal record expungement process.

The bill was amended in the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

CONTACT: Jenn Kocher  jkocher@pasen.gov