Giving CT criminals a ‘clean slate’ gets new push

HARTFORD — Automatically erasing the criminal records of individuals three to five years after they have completed their sentences will give them a better a chance of landing a job or finding a place to live, according to clergy and advocates.

It’s the first year the so-called “clean slate” legislation has been proposed and it faces an uncertain future as legislative leaders struggle to figure out where their members stand on it and hundreds of other issues.

State and local elected leaders, clergy members, criminal justice advocates, and formerly-incarcerated individuals held a news conference Wednesday to express their support for the legislation. An hour later, it was listed as one of the bills that is a priority for the Progressive Caucus and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus at a separate news conference.

The bill, which passed the Judiciary Committee earlier this month by a 21-19 vote, would automatically expunge the criminal record of a person convicted of a misdemeanor after three years and a person convicted of a felony after five years.

The bill is headed to the Senate.

CONECT, a collective of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and civic organizations from New Haven and Fairfield counties sponsored the press conference Wednesday in favor of the legislation.

Speaking at CONECT’s press conference was Rick DelValle, a former drug addict who now operates five recovery houses for addicts in New Haven.

DelValle said he became an addict at a young age because he learned the bad habit from his abusive father.

“I became addicted too, started drinking, smoking marijuana, used harder and harder drugs,” DelValle said. He said that led to repeated arrests to feed his drug…

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