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Gov. Hochul signs historic Clean Slate Act aimed to help incarcerated people

The act seals the criminal records of New Yorkers with previous convictions after three years for anyone with a misdemeanor and eight years for anyone with a previous felony.

Faith Graham, Phil Taitt and Adolfo Carrion

Nov 16, 2023, 3:29 AM

Updated 215 days ago

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Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act into law on Thursday, which will help New Yorkers with past convictions get a brand-new start on life.  
The act seals the criminal records of New Yorkers with previous convictions after three years for anyone with a misdemeanor and eight years for anyone with a previous felony. This is all being done in an effort to help them return to their everyday lives.  
For Derrick Hamilton, the Clean Slate Act is personal – he spent two decades behind bars and was wrongfully convicted. Hamilton says his sentence went well beyond the justice system.  
“I think the Clean Slate Act helped erase it,” says Hamilton. “It gives you a fresh start, an opportunity to go before employers not… as a criminal, but a human being worthy of being employed.” 


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