Clean Slate: Because We all Deserve a Second Chance   

Louisiana faces several challenges connected to its criminal legal system: the highest incarceration rate in the country, a high poverty rate, and numerous barriers to housing, education, and employment for those who have served their sentences.  While these are complex challenges, one common-sense policy solution is to simplify the overly complicated process of clearing old criminal records for thousands of individuals. By enacting clean slate legislation in Louisiana, we can remove barriers for those who have served their sentences and provide them the opportunity to thrive.  This is more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19 to ensure that Louisianians with criminal records aren't left behind when the economy reopens.    

We can all agree that a criminal record shouldn't be a life sentence to poverty - it's time to move to a clean slate in Louisiana. 

About Clean Slate Legislation

Following decades of overcriminalization, between 70 million and 100 million Americans—1 in 3—now have some type of criminal record. In Louisiana, the most incarcerated place in the world, we know that thousands of Louisianans struggle with access to jobs, housing, and education due to criminal records that follow them for their entire lives.

Louisiana also has some of the most expansive expungement law in the country. The problem? With the highest filing fees in the nation ($550 to $650) and a process so confusing that most people have to hire a lawyer, most people cannot afford to get an expungement. Even though they've served their time. Even though they have no new convictions.

Clean Slate Legislation would shift the burden from the expungement seeker to the government to initiate the expungement, automatically, after waiting periods that are already provided in the law. 

 

In 2021, we worked with Representative Ted James to introduce legislation to ensure that everyone who is legally entitled to expungement under current Louisiana law would get their record expunged by the government. Unfortunately the bill died after last minute opposition by the State Police, which receives a portion of the fees paid by expungement seekers.  We are planning to return in 2022 with new legislation.  Check back here for updates on that effort.

 Clean Slate In the News

Clean Slate Videos

Louisiana residents discuss what clean slate means to them. 

NFL's Malcom Jenkins Speaks Out About Unfair Expungement Processes

Resources

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Clean Slate ensures we will not hamstring our post-COVID-19 recovery by preventing 1.2 MILLION Louisianians with criminal records from returning to the workforce.  Read our  factsheet here.

Cover page from Breaking Down Barriers t

JAC contributed to this report by Community Legal Services of Philadelphia on the barriers to record clearing.  It is an excellent look at the "second chance gap"  - the fact that even in states with broad eligibility guidelines for record clearing, the vast majority of people who could benefit never will.

 

Read answers to the most

frequently asked questions

about clean slate here.

National Clean Slate Initiative video on clean slate policies nationwide

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