April 23, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has joined with elected prosecutors and law enforcement leaders nationwide in calling for an expansion of “clean slate” initiatives.
“Yesterday, Fair and Just Prosecution issued a joint statement bringing together over 80 elected prosecutors and law enforcement leaders, urging policymakers to expand so called ‘clean slate’ initiatives — laws that automatically expunge and seal criminal records after a specified period of time or other criteria are met. Utah is one of only two states in the country with a clean slate law,” said a news release from Salt Lake County.
One in every three Americans today has a criminal record, the news release said. “Yet there are immense and often lifelong collateral consequences resulting from any criminal record, including difficulties in finding employment, housing, public assistance, and education,” the news release added. “The statement emphasizes that people with previous involvement in the criminal legal system, and their families, deserve to move forward without forever being saddled by the closed doors and endless public burdens of their pasts.”
Gill said by way of the news release: “One of the key tenets in our criminal justice system is the chance for rehabilitation. Once you have paid your debt to society, we should welcome you back into our community as an equal partner and an equal contributor to our collective success. Utah should be proud that we have an automatic expungement, or ‘clean slate’ law. That law isn’t perfect, and it could go much further. But that Utah is one of only two states to have enacted legislation of this type is a testament to Utahns’ belief in the power of rehabilitation, and the ability of individuals to overcome their pasts to become productive and accepted members of our communities.”
Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution Miriam Krinsky said: “No one should be permanently defined by one mistake, but far too often, a criminal record becomes an interminable obstacle to opportunity, trapping people in an unnecessary, punitive cycle without making any of us safer. We must provide those who have been involved in the criminal legal system the support they need to be successful, not hinder them with more overly punitive policies that prevent them from accessing the resources they need. Policymakers must prioritize rehabilitation and commit to giving second chances to those who have earned it — our entire community will be better off as a result.”
For more on clean slate initiatives, click here.