A report by the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College reveals over a million criminal convictions in New York dating back to 20 years or more, disproportionately affecting Black residents.
After analyzing 6.6 million convictions from 1980 to 2021, researchers found that 42% of convictions between 1985 and 2021 involved Black individuals, who make up only 15% of the state’s population. The findings come at a time when state lawmakers, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, are contemplating the Clean Slate Act, aimed at sealing many criminal records in the state.
The report also revealed the scope of criminal convictions in New York, with annual convictions peaking between 1990 and 2010 at 170,000 to 200,000, before significantly declining to 109,000 in 2010.
The Clean Slate Act proponents argue that it would alleviate the difficulties faced by individuals with criminal records in securing jobs and housing. However, Republicans have criticized the proposal, citing the necessity of background checks for certain occupations. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that the bill, which has not passed in several years, might be up for a vote in the upcoming legislative session ending June 8.
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