When someone is arrested or convicted in Delaware, if their record meets certain requirements, they’re promised a second chance after a set amount of time. But what happens when the state can’t deliver on that promise?

That’s the case for most of the 193,865 Delawareans who are currently eligible for expungement in Delaware, but can’t get one because of an administrative backlog, a time-consuming and costly process, and a lack of information from the state. In fact, data from the Paper Prisons Initiative estimates that if every one of those people sought out the second chance the state promised them, it would take nearly 200 years for the state to process those expungements.

There’s a clear and simple answer to this problem: automatic record sealing or expungement through Clean Slate legislation.

There are currently two different Clean Slate bills up for consideration in the 151st General Assembly: SB 111 and SB 112. SB 111’s automation of the expungement process and SB 112’s expansion of mandatory expungement are important next steps in Delaware’s movement to a more equitable, just, and economically prosperous future.

SB 111, the Clean Slate Act, would create an automatic expungement process for adult and juvenile records that are eligible for mandatory expungement.

SB 112 w/ SA 1, the mandatory expungement bill, would expand eligibility for mandatory expungement of adult and juvenile records, so that more people would have access to automatic expungement through SB 111.

New data from the State Bureau of Identification estimates that 290,000 people with records in Delaware would benefit from SB 111 and SB 112. Over 20% of Delaware’s population — roughly one in five people — would be eligible for automatic expungement through Clean Slate. And each county: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, benefits almost as much as the next. The percentage of residents that would benefit in each county are:

  • New Castle County: 21.44%
  • Kent County: 20.31%
  • Sussex County: 18.92%

With those kinds of impact numbers, it’s likely that someone you know would benefit from Clean Slate legislation. A true second chance is within their reach — we just need to get these bills passed.

Can you take a moment to ask your legislators to support these bills so those 290,000 people can get the second chance they’re promised?