The New York Civil Liberties Union wants a faster way of sealing many criminal records in the state as part of a final budget deal.
The conversations over the proposal surrounding the "Clean Slate" Act are being held as lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are considering a broad package of criminal justice law changes addressing concerns over cashless bail, evidence discovery procedures and access to tuition assistance for people in prison.
Hochul's proposal for the Clean Slate measure would seal felony records seven years after a sentence is completed and after three years for misdemeanors.
But the NYCLU wants the legislative version of the proposal given the final green light, pointing to that proposal sealing records years earlier than Hochul's plan.
"The standalone bill would enable formerly incarcerated people who have successfully re-entered society to clear their records much sooner; it also provides critical protections for New Yorkers whose records are disclosed," the group wrote in a letter to be released on Wednesday. "In tandem with a broad coalition of labor organizations, civil rights groups, racial justice organizations, public defenders, members of law enforcement, and people directly impacted by the criminal legal system, the NYCLU calls upon you to enact a version of Clean Slate that includes the legislature’s language."
A previous version of the bill last year did not gain enough support in the state Legislature for final approval.
Supporters of sealing records have argued the measure would make it easier for people to find jobs and housing once their sentences have been completed, and reduce repeat offenses in the process.