The Clean Slate Delaware campaign was formed to expand access to second chances through record clearance that paves the way for financial opportunity, stable employment, education, and a full life without the burden of a record.
Now that SB 111 and SB 112 have become law in Delaware, people living with a Delaware record will have more of an opportunity for those second chances. So – what comes next for the Clean Slate Delaware campaign?
SB 111 created an automated process for records that are eligible for mandatory expungement. This automated process will begin in 2024. SB 112 expanded the list of records that are eligible for mandatory expungement, which became effective this January.
According to John Reynolds, our Clean Slate Delaware campaign manager, understanding what’s next requires an understanding of what it was like prior to our first big expungement successes in 2018 and in 2019. “In 2019, there was an expansion of how Delaware approached record clearance that significantly increased the number of people who had access to record clearance opportunities and the second chances that come along with it, so the Clean Slate Delaware Campaign really seeks to build on that important first step.”
Kailyn Richards, the director of policy at the Delaware Center for Justice, notes that “At a national level, the fact that one in three Americans has some form of a record means that one in three Americans face really concrete and significant barriers in many cases to housing, employment, and education. Delaware is another really important step in showing that the Clean Slate model has legs, that it's continuing to grow, and that real second chances are appealing to people across the country.”
Our campaign’s goal to increase access to second chances goes far beyond just passing a couple pieces of legislation. We want to give people who are living with a Delaware record an understanding of the record clearance process, continue our efforts to remove barriers that block that access, and provide resources that will help ensure more people are able to get the second chance they deserve.
With Clean Slate, the mandatory expungement process will be easier to access in 2024: eliminating the application process, removing administrative barriers, and doing away with the application fee. But a simpler, future process doesn’t mean that all barriers are removed for eligible individuals today. Until August 2024, the cost of mandatory expungement may still pose a barrier for those who can’t afford it and the process is somewhat tricky, requiring a level of understanding that everyday people might not have. And even getting past step 1, determining your eligibility for mandatory expungement, can be complicated and nuanced.
That’s why community education and resources are top priorities for the next steps of our Clean Slate Delaware campaign.
We have hosted workshops and clinics since last year, with a goal to raise awareness and promote education on the current expungement process and laws and to help people determine their eligibility for expungement. We’ve responded to an increase in expungement requests due to the frontline work of our campaign and partnered with state agencies like the Office of Defense Services and the Department of Labor's Apex program.
In partnership with the Delaware Center for Justice, our clinics and workshops provide:
- Resources to help people understand the expungement process;
- Pre-screening for eligibility of mandatory expungement; and
- Navigation of the fingerprinting and application process for those eligible for mandatory expungement.
While there is a victory in SB 111 and SB 112, we know that there is still work to be done. Tackling the barriers community members face regarding fines and fees – especially probation and court fees – before they can be considered for expungement is another primary focus of our campaign. We will continue our community education, resource, and advocacy work until the reality of a true second chance is realized for all Delawareans who are eligible.
Here are some upcoming important dates for the Clean Slate Campaign:
*Dates are subject to change. For the most up-to-date expungement workshop info, visit our events page.