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.
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.
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:
- Providing people with criminal records and non-legal service providers with accurate, up-to-date information on record clearance and mitigation as well as contact information for legal service providers;
- Creating a community of practice that supports legal service providers currently engaged in record clearance work and gives the tools and resources needed to support new legal service providers; and
- Giving policymakers the information needed to compare their state’s record clearance policies to the national and regional landscapes and to learn about best practices.
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:
- If you were a victim of human trafficking, visit the American Bar Association’s Survivor Reentry Project page to learn more about how you may be able to clean your criminal record.
- If you are a non-citizen immigrant, visit the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s Crimes page to learn more about potential criminal record clearance remedies.
- If you were convicted while serving in the military, read the U.S. Department of Justice’s instructions for applying for a federal pardon.