Governor Hochul Signs Clean Slate Act
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act, which allows certain criminal records to be sealed years after a person is sentenced or released from incarceration, if they are not subsequently convicted of another criminal act.
The governor says this bill will make it easier for individuals to pass background checks for job applications, also serving as an anti-crime tool by getting those individuals back into the workforce.
The bill will only apply to certain types of crimes. It will not apply to sex crimes, murder, or non-drug class A felonies.
"You only get this if you've turned your life around. But the good news is, millions of people have. They're the ones we're focused on here today," said Governor Hochul. "We seal the records, they can look for a job, learn a trade, without having that permanent scarlet letter on their forehead that says, I can't work, I won't be able to work. That's what we're taking care of today. We're talking about people who went before a judge and a jury, paid the price for their action and sometimes over many, many years."
Binghamton City Council Member Angela Riley said, "As legislators, it is our responsibility to support and enact laws that facilitate fresh starts for those who have paid their debt to society. A person who has served their time, completed rehabilitation programs, and demonstrated a commitment to change deserves an opportunity for a clean slate."
Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the New York State Education Department, and courts will still be able to access conviction records under this law.