No matter its severity, a criminal record carries a heavy burden.

April 2022, Austin– Right On Crime, a national campaign supporting conservative criminal justice policy, released a new research paper today outlining the benefits of Clean Slate legislation in Texas and across the nation. The report, Providing a Clean Slate: Removing Barriers to Employment, explains why criminal records can create lifetime barriers to employment, housing, and education while detailing how this detrimentally affects our economy and public safety.

Criminal records for low-level and nonviolent offenders create barriers to employment, housing, and education. While many individuals are eligible to clear their records, more than 90% who are eligible do not attempt the process due to a lack of money and complicated bureaucracies.

“A criminal record shouldn’t be a life sentence to poverty. Clean Slate legislation uses modern technology to cost-effectively do what’s already being done. It expunges criminal records for offenders of low-level or non-violent crimes who have served their time, paid their fines, and completed their court obligations,” said Nikki Pressley, study author and Texas Director of Right On Crime. “Clean Slate legislation can help restore broken families; reduce recidivism, and help grow our economy.”

When you consider that 1-in-3 Americans have some type of criminal record, this research hits home with tens of millions of Americans. A criminal record makes it more difficult to re-enter society and more likely the formerly incarcerated will commit a crime again,” said Brett Tolman, Executive Director of Right On Crime and former U.S. Attorney. “Clean Slate legislation helps to reduce recidivism, promote public safety and pave the way for taxpayers, not tax burdens.”

Key Points

  • Public safety is a core responsibility of government, and it is critical that criminal record relief laws be reasonably restrictive to balance community safety with both redemption and renewed opportunity.
  • Research has shown that among eligible individuals, those who successfully obtain expungement have low recidivism rates and earn an average of over 22% more wages within one year.
  • Automating the record clearing process would eliminate all forms and fees, both lightening the courts’ workload and removing barriers to relief.

Read the research here: