(WNY News Now) – Senator George Borrello has voiced strong opposition to Governor Kathy Hochul’s approval of the Clean Slate Act, a legislation aimed at sealing certain criminal records to facilitate individuals’ reintegration into society. The law, effective one year from today, allows for the automatic sealing of eligible misdemeanor convictions after three years and certain felony convictions after eight years post-release from incarceration. Despite its intentions to provide opportunities for employment, housing, and education, Senator Borrello contends that the act compromises public safety.
Albany – Senator George Borrello expressed his concerns over Governor Kathy Hochul’s signing of the Clean Slate Act, characterizing it as a prioritization of criminals and the radical wing of her party over the safety and concerns of New Yorkers. The legislation, which automatically seals criminal records after specified time periods, has raised alarm bells for Borrello, who argues that it may inadvertently place individuals at risk by concealing serious offenses.
The Clean Slate Act, set to be enforced one year from today, outlines a process for the New York State Office of Court Administration to identify and seal eligible records within three years. However, Borrello contends that the law lacks necessary safeguards, potentially allowing serial offenders to hide their criminal history, including serious crimes like manslaughter, armed robbery, domestic violence, and arson. The concern is that unsuspecting employers and landlords may inadvertently place individuals in harm’s way due to the lack of transparency regarding past criminal activities.
Borrello highlighted that while there is an existing process for sealing criminal records, the Clean Slate Act undermines these safeguards. He argued that Albany Democrats have consistently rejected reasonable policies and reforms in favor of what he deems as reckless versions, contributing to the erosion of safety and quality of life for New Yorkers.
The Senator emphasized the need for a balance between providing opportunities for individuals with criminal histories and ensuring public safety. Borrello acknowledged the importance of reintegration and second chances but argued that the current legislation neglects reasonable precautions in favor of a more lenient approach.
He stated, “Governor Hochul’s signing today of the Clean Slate Act is more confirmation that catering to criminals and the radical wing of her party is more important than the safety and concerns of New Yorkers who have repeatedly cited rising crime as the state’s number one problem.”
Borrello concluded by urging a reconsideration of the Clean Slate Act, calling for a more nuanced approach that prioritizes both the rehabilitation of individuals with criminal records and the safety of the wider community. As discussions around criminal justice reforms continue, the Senator emphasized the importance of finding a middle ground that addresses the concerns raised by both supporters and critics of the Clean Slate Act.