Selected Mentions of Paper Prisons in the News

‘Clean Slate’ Justice Laws Offer a Second Chance—Only to Some (Jul. 10, 2022)

CLEAN SLATE LAWS are sweeping the country, offering many of the estimated 70 to 100 million people with a criminal record the chance to have their record expunged. The benefits seem straightforward: Making a criminal record no longer publicly available should reduce housing and employment discrimination. The policy aims to give people a second chance, especially those who were unfairly targeted to begin with. Expungement has largely been framed as a way to address the errors of a legal system rooted in racial hierarchies and discrimination.

CLEAN SLATE LAWS have received broad bipartisan support. But making laws politically palatable to both sides of the aisle can result in narrow policy. And while advocates point out the common sense benefits of criminal record expungement, public opinion for expungement is mixed.

Clean slate laws can open doors for people who are barred from opportunities, particularly in industries that require state licensing, such as nursing. The individual impact of having one’s record sealed is overwhelmingly positive for personal, economic, social, and professional reasons. Much enthusiasm around expungement has taken a racial justice approach as well: For instance, cannabis expungement has centered on how the war on drugs disproportionately targeted people of color.

Automation and algorithmic approaches to expungement get a lot of attention for making the process fairer and for expanding access, but the underlying policies may be increasing race-based discrimination in the long run by cutting people of color out of the eligibility pool. The lesson is that technology alone can’t fix an inherently unfair policy, but thinking more broadly about second chances—and who deserves them—might. “

Read original post.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Paper Prisons Initiative is a project of Santa Clara University that is made possible through the support of our collaborators and partners

Contact Us

If you wish to contact us, please fill out the entire form below and press the "Send Message" button. If you wish to sign up for email updates from us, please only fill out your name and email in the form below and press the "Sign Up for Updates" button.

A project of
Santa Clara University

© 2021 Santa Clara University

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Cookie Policy