Clean Slate Clearinghouse

As many as one in three adults in the U.S. has a criminal record. Any contact with the criminal justice system, including non-conviction arrests, can have long-lasting effects on a person’s employment, housing, educational and other opportunities despite research that indicates that criminal records lose their ability to predict future criminal conduct over time.

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For the more than one million children charged with crimes in juvenile court each year, the record they acquire may hinder future attempts at gaining employment, housing, and even returning to school, effectively preventing them from starting their lives.

Importantly, the racial disparities already found in arrest and conviction rates are amplified in the collateral consequences of having a criminal record. Job applicants of color—particularly black men—with a criminal record are the least likely to achieve employment after conviction or incarceration.

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Criminal record clearance—the ability to remove old criminal history information from public record—may provide an opportunity for people to move beyond their past. In addition, removing certain types of criminal records from public access may reduce employer concerns of liability.

Starting in 2017, the Clean Slate Clearinghouse (NCSC) will provide information on current policies governing juvenile adjudication and adult criminal record clearance at the state level. The goal of NCSC is to support criminal record clearance around the country by:

Following the launch of NCSC, comprehensive training and technical assistance opportunities will be announced.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center will partner with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, the National Juvenile Defender Center, the National Association of Counties, and the National League of Cities on NCSC.

Other useful external resources:

This work is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice.