Advocates push for lawmakers to pass ‘Clean Slate Act’ to help former offenders move forward

Connecticut

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– You’ve done the crime and the time behind bars, now you want to restart your life. It’s not always possible but elected officials and lawmakers are working to give former offenders a clean slate.

Life behind bars is tough but after people leave prison they often face incarceration of a different kind. The Senate’s ‘Clean Slate’ bill is designed to change that.

“It is a bill that would automatically erase a person’s record if they have earned that chance by completing their sentence and going for a defined period of time without a new conviction,” said Gus Marks-Hamilton, ACLU Campaign Mgr.

Wednesday’s rally outside the State Capitol brought out ACLU members from across the state, calling on lawmakers to pass the “Clean Slate Act.”

Carrie Perez was once incarcerated and has since earned a bachelor’s degree. But there’s yet another battle facing her.

“But I can’t get an apartment because of my felonies. I’m now at Fordham University studying for a Master’s degree I do not know that I’ll be able to get because I have a felony,” said Perez.

The push to get lawmakers to pass the bill is now in its third year. Supporters say the delay is placing a wall in front of people hoping to move their lives forward.

“When people return from prison and have greater access to jobs, housing and higher education, they are less likely to recidivate. We support clean slate,” said Phillippe Andal, Sr. Pastor Community Baptist Church of New Haven.

“I’m denied housing, I’m denied good jobs. You come out of jail and what are you supposed to do,” said Perez.

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