New program helps low-level criminal offenders navigate their way to a clean slate


A new program is available to help eligible Pennsylvanians who have some low-level crimes in their past to navigate through a process to publicly seal their criminal record.

Called My Clean Slate, it provides free legal consultation to determine eligibility to participate in this new “Clean Slate” law that Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last year.

The first phase of those law took effect on Dec. 26. It allows individuals with non-violent first-degree misdemeanors and most simple assault convictions who have been conviction-free for 10 years and have no fines or costs owed to become eligible for sealing.

“As author of this new law, I encourage anyone with a nonviolent criminal record to see if they are eligible for this opportunity,” said Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland County. “A minor mistake more than a decade ago should not keep someone from obtaining employment or renting an apartment.”

Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, who also helped to champion this bill, said, “Passing clean slate legislation was the first step in helping people become fully engaged citizens again, and now easing the process for them to get their second chance is next.”

This law expands criminal record sealing to include more offenses by filing petitions. It also creates an automated computer process that will go into effect on June 29 to seal arrests that didn’t result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years and some second- and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent convictions for 10 years.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation to have such a law.

“Clean Slate is an incredibly important piece of my administration’s commitment to helping formerly incarcerated or arrested individuals get their lives back on track,” Wolf said. He credited the Community Legal Services and Pennsylvania Bar Association for creating this program to help people navigate their way through the process.