PDAA Commends State Lawmakers and Governor Shapiro for Bipartisan Reform Laws

December 15, 2023

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) today commended the General Assembly and Governor Josh Shapiro for passing two laws to improve the criminal justice system that will expand the “Clean Slate Act” and reform the probation system. PDAA supported both measures and worked with state lawmakers and criminal justice organizations on the passage of these bipartisan bills.

In 2018, Pennsylvania enacted the Clean Slate Act that included the automatic sealing of criminal records for certain eligible offenses, mostly lower and mid-level misdemeanors. The expanded law will now allow the sealing of records for certain non-violent drug offenses. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-88) and Rep. Jordan Harris (D-186).

“The rationale in support of Clean Slate remains strong: Recidivism rates are lower among those who are employed after they are released,” testified Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo in support of the legislation. “Record sealing helps lead to better opportunities for employment, and therefore, helps to improve public safety.”

The reform measure will streamline the probation system, helping those on probation who seek a second chance and allowing probation officials to work with those in most need of supervision. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20).

“We support efforts to streamline county probation and to appropriately reduce both the length of supervision, as well as the number of individuals ultimately on probation,” testified York County District Attorney David Sunday. “For those who are less violent and have not violated the terms of probation, we ought to provide a mechanism to end probation after a reasonable period of time.”

PDAA also commended state lawmakers for passing human trafficking legislation (Senate Bill 44) that would help exploited minors have full access to services and support. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Cris Dush (R-25), Sen. Maria Collett (D-12), and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28).

“We need to do whatever we can to help the victims of human trafficking, especially the child victims of sex trafficking,” PDAA Executive Director Kelly Callihan said. “This legislation removes unnecessary legal barriers to ensure that sexually exploited minors can receive the counseling and support they deserve.”