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Lamont, Criminal Justice Advocates Spar Over Recently Passed Connecticut Clean Slate Law

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Criminal justice reform advocates in Connecticut are pushing back on Governor Ned Lamont’s concerns about a new law he signed on Thursday. They said the measure that erases the criminal records of nonviolent offenders who’ve served their time is the strongest in the nation.

Lamont has sent a letter to lawmakers asking them to revisit the Clean Slate law. He said he is concerned that the erased records would not be available to criminal justice agencies to consider in determining whether to issue a gun permit. And also the judicial branch would not have access to the records if a person returns to court.

Claudine Fox is with the ACLU of Connecticut. She said the measure is the strongest in the nation.

“Both chambers of our Connecticut legislature have spoken and believe that this was the strongest Clean Slate that should have been passed in Connecticut and it should stay that way,” Fox said.

Phil Kent is with CONECT, an interfaith advocacy group who lobbied for Clean Slate. He said he understands Lamont’s concern, but the law does not permit most violent crimes to be erased.

“The gun permit issue has already been addressed. And in addition to that this bill affects most misdemeanors and it only affects lower level D and E felonies at this time,” Kent said.

He said that means violent sexual offenses or family violence crimes are also not subject to erasure. The new law takes effect in 2023.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.