A new poll being released as lawmakers prepare for the final push of the legislative session shows wide support for a measure that would give New Yorkers who paid their debt to society a fresh start.
The Clean Slate coalition is touting polling data showing overwhelming support for a bill to automatically seal and expunge old conviction records.ADVERTISEMENT
By a 26-point margin, respondents said they would support the Clean Slate bill for those who meet the proposed criteria. Overall, 56% of people said they back the bill, according to the survey conducted by Global Strategy Group.
“With the overwhelming support of New Yorkers across the state, now is the time for New York’s Legislature to pass the Clean Slate Act,” said advocate Marvin Mayfield, lead statewide organizer at the Center for Community Alternatives. “This polling makes abundantly clear that New Yorkers believe in second chances and in the importance of allowing people with old conviction records a chance to get back on our feet, support our families and contribute to our communities.”
The Clean Slate bill, sponsored by Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), would automatically seal and expunge criminal records, as long as someone served their time and their probation has ended.
Supporters say many are affected by the stigma of a criminal record long after they’ve completed their sentence and the bill could ease many problems such as finding a job, enrolling in college or finding an apartment.ADVERTISEMENT
Under the measure, first proposed two years ago, a conviction would be automatically sealed one year after sentencing on the individual’s last misdemeanor conviction and three years after sentencing for felonies, as long as someone is off probation and parole, is not facing any pending criminal charges, and is not on the sex offender registry.
Civilly sealed convictions would then not show up in most background checks for employment and housing and would be inaccessible to police departments.
They would still be accessible for courts and prosecution purposes as well as agencies statutorily mandated to fingerprint people for government-regulated jobs, licensing and clearances.
According to the poll, an overwhelming number of voters see value in the aims behind the Clean Slate measure, with 91% saying they feel it is important to “give those with criminal records a fair chance to get a job, provide for their families, and become productive members of society.”