PRESS RELEASE: Tuesday, June 29, 2021
CONTACT: Morgan Keller, Communications Director, ACLU-DE, email@example.com
Delaware poised to Deliver on the Promise of a Second Chance with Passage of Clean Slate Legislation
WILMINGTON, DE—The General Assembly’s House chamber has voted overwhelmingly to expand access to second chances by passing Clean Slate legislation. With today’s bipartisan vote, SB 111 and SB 112 move out of the General Assembly and head to Governor John Carney’s desk for signature.
“SB 111’s automation of the expungement process and SB 112’s expansion of mandatory expungement eligibility are important next steps in Delaware’s movement to create meaningful second changes and a more equitable, just, and economically prosperous future in our state,” said Kailyn Richards, policy coordinator at the Delaware Center for Justice.
SB 111, the Clean Slate Act, creates an automatic record clearance process for adult and juvenile arrest and conviction records that are eligible for mandatory expungement, ensuring that more Delawareans can move beyond their paper prisons and receive a true second chance at economic success and inclusion in their communities. Once signed into law, the Clean Slate Act will be effective immediately and will be implemented on August 1, 2024.
SB 112 w/ SA 1 will expand eligibility for mandatory expungement of adult and juvenile records by:
- Adjusting the eligibility for juvenile expungement so that all cases eligible for adult expungement also qualify for juvenile expungement;
- Allowing all cases that were dropped and records for underage possession or consumption of alcohol, possession of marijuana, or possession of drug paraphernalia to be expunged, regardless of other records a person may have;
- Making drug possession eligible for mandatory expungement 5 years after conviction if a person has no prior or subsequent convictions; and,
- Making additional felony convictions eligible for mandatory expungement 10 years after conviction or release if a person has no prior or subsequent convictions.
“Because of this legislation, 290,000 people with records in Delaware will gain access to the second chance they deserve,” said John Reynolds, Clean Slate Delaware campaign manager at the ACLU of Delaware. “The benefits cannot be understated: Delaware is going to be among a short list of national leaders who are choosing to propel economic recovery and public safety through Clean Slate.”
Nationally, only four other states have passed Clean Slate legislation: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, and most recently, Connecticut. The benefits of Clean Slate have been impressive: increased financial stability for people whose records are cleared and decreased recidivism and crime.
“For anyone living with a record who paid their debt to society, a second chance means access to education and job training, a stable job, livable income and safe housing for themselves and their family,” said Dubard McGriff, founder of Game Changers. “But Clean Slate benefits others, too: in communities across Delaware, fewer people will commit repeat offenses, which means safer streets. For businesses, it means a bigger pool of qualified job applicants. Everyone stands to win with Clean Slate in Delaware.”
Partners on the Clean Slate Delaware campaign include the ACLU of Delaware, the National Clean Slate Initiative, the Center for American Progress, the Delaware Coalition for Smart Justice, the Delaware Center for Justice, and the Game Changers.