The Senate approved a key criminal justice reform bill today (October 21) that would allow more Pennsylvanians to have their criminal records expunged if certain conditions are met, according to Senator Dan Laughlin, who supported the bill.
Under current law, an individual who receives a pardon or is not convicted of a crime must pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in legal fees to file for expungement.
House Bill 440 would provide for the automatic expungement of criminal records after an individual is fully acquitted of an offense, as well as automatically sealing crimes granted pardons until the expungement process is complete.
Under the measure, individuals would still be responsible for paying all court-ordered restitution in order to qualify for record sealing. However, they would not face the additional costs of navigating the criminal record expungement process.
The legislation removes a serious barrier to employment, housing, education and other critical services for individuals who are otherwise unable to complete the process of criminal record expungement due to financial reasons. HB 440 builds on the success of the state’s Clean Slate Law, which has already led to the automatic sealing of more than 35 million minor criminal records.
The bill was amended in the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Contact: Matt Azeles firstname.lastname@example.org