New state program helps navigate 'Clean Slate' law

Tony Romeo
January 03, 2019 - 4:00 am
Gov. Tom Wolf introduces his “My Clean Slate” program to help people navigate the new law, Jan. 2, 2019.

The Office of Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania’s first-in-the-nation "Clean Slate" law is now in effect, and a new program has been launched to help people take advantage of it.

The Clean Slate law took effect the day after Christmas, and already, Gov. Tom Wolf says hundreds of people who may have nonviolent first-degree misdemeanor and simple assault convictions have begun to take action to have their records sealed. 

They are eligible if they have not been convicted for 10 years and if no fines and costs are owed. 

The governor said the Clean Slate law is vital — and complicated. But help is available.

"Community Legal Services and the Pennsylvania Bar Association have teamed to create 'My Clean Slate' to provide pro-bono legal consultation to anyone interested in finding how Clean Slate can change their lives for the better," Wolf said.

Wolf added the new law is just the beginning of what’s needed in criminal justice reform. 

Anne John, president-elect of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, said to get the process started, individuals can visit to a new website created for the program, where a simple online form can be filled out.

"And once that form has been completed," she said, "then a lawyer volunteer may be accessed for reviewing that form and helping that individual to determine whether they are eligible to have their records sealed."

State Rep. Jordan Harris, a Philadelphia Democrat, said he’s optimistic about the program.

"I believe that this coalition that we've built can stay together to get even more things done around criminal justice here in the commonwealth," he said. "Many times Pennsylvania is last or close to last at getting things done. But when it comes to Clean Slate, we are first, and it is a good thing to be first at."