Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a “clean slate” bill that will wipe records of misdemeanor convictions and lower-level felonies after a set period of time.
Some supporters estimated the change will impact the lives of about 277,000 formerly incarcerated people in Connecticut.
“The collateral consequences of a criminal record last long after a person has served his or her sentence, and even after they continue to lead a crime-free life. In these circumstances, a criminal record should not hinder an individual’s ability to obtain an education, employment, professional licensure, public benefits, and housing,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement to the General Assembly. “Someone who has served his or her sentence deserves a fair chance at meaningful employment and stable housing.”
The governor said that under this legislation, people with criminal convictions will get their records erased automatically after a set period of time. They will not have to apply for a pardon or appear before the Board.
The erasures for eligible people will go into effect seven years after the date of a conviction for a misdemeanor or 10 years after the date of a conviction for certain class D or E felonies or unclassified felonies with prison terms of five years or less, according to the govenor's office.
“Although certain categories of crimes such as sexually violent offenses or crimes designated as family violence crimes are not subject to erasure under this legislation, I continue to have concerns that more felonies were not excluded. I also am concerned that the erased records will not be available to criminal justice agencies to consider in determining whether to issue a gun permit or to the Judicial Branch in the event the individual is someday back in court,” Lamont wrote.
He is calling on the legislature to address these concerns, but said he’s proud to sign a bill that will help people who have served their sentence and who have continued to live crime-free lives.