On June 29, Delaware became the sixth US state to enact Clean Slate legislation that will automatically clear hundreds of thousands of criminal records. This victory is monumental, and it’s building on widespread momentum—Delaware joins Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Utah, Michigan, and Virginia.
Code for America congratulates the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Delaware, the Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Game Changers, the Delaware Center for Justice, the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, the Delaware General Assembly, Delaware Governor John Carney, and more who joined this effort. Our Clear My Record team is incredibly proud to have partnered with the Clean Slate Initiative and advocates in Delaware to ensure that the state’s new Clean Slate laws effectively and equitably serve people with records. Clear My Record has provided similar support to states across the country, helping lead recent Clean Slate victories in Connecticut and Michigan.
Clean Slate policies clear all eligible criminal records automatically—so that this burden doesn’t fall on people with records. Many people don’t realize that millions of criminal records are already eligible to be expunged under current law. But existing non-automatic record clearance processes are complicated, time-consuming, burdensome, and expensive, leaving up to 95% of eligible people behind.
Criminal records create lifelong barriers to living wage jobs, stable housing, education, and much more. This issue follows decades of federal, state, and local policies and practices that have burdened one in three Americans with a criminal record—in a criminal legal system that disproportionately targets Black people and communities of color.
Clean Slate automatic record clearance laws are a concrete way to begin repairing past wrongs and building an equitable future with policies designed to serve all of us. We hope other states pass these laws too, and Clear My Record is committed to supporting states in this work. It’s time to end life sentences to poverty, exclusion, and stigma by ensuring people with records can have a real clean slate.