Years of Work by CONECT Culminates in Clean Slate Law for Connecticut
After three years of sustained organizing work by the leaders of CONECT, Gov. Ned Lamont signed the Clean Slate bill into law on June 10, 2021.
“Let this hard-fought win be a model for how states across the country can begin to end the continuing harm of mass incarceration, particularly in its targeting of Black and brown individuals, and build safer, more prosperous communities.” said Rev. Anthony L. Bennett, pastor of Mt. Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport and co-chair of CONECT.
Clean Slate is the automatic erasure of criminal records for certain convictions after between seven and 10 years, for individuals who remain free of the criminal justice system upon release from custody. There was a process to apply for erasure in Connecticut, but the application process was burdensome, costly, bureaucratic, and subjective.
To put this momentous win in perspective:
Clean Slate is a racial justice issue. In Connecticut, black people are 9.4 times more likely than white people to be incarcerated, and Latinx people are 3.9 times more likely to be incarcerated than white people. The effects of this systemic racism would persist for decades to come without Clean Slate.
Clean Slate improves public safety. When people's records are erased, they gain access to jobs, housing, and higher education. Recidivism rates dramatically decrease as a result. That makes everyone safer.
Clean Slate boosts the economy. One 2016 study estimates that the collective national impact of the shackles of a criminal record reduces our GDP each year between $78 billion and $87 billion. Based on Connecticut's population, this means the loss of between $859 million and $958 million in economic activity each year in our state. Clean Slate will create job opportunities for thousands of CT residents, thereby expanding our state’s economic growth.
Read CONECT's letter, with Clean Slate allies, commemorating the victory and urging legislators to continue to support Clean Slate.
Gov. Ned Lamont signs ‘clean slate’ bill erasing criminal records of more than 300,000 Connecticut residents into law, Hartford Courant [pdf]
Gov. Signs Clean Slate Bill, CT News Junkie [pdf]