Pa.’s new Clean Slate Law means jail time is no longer a life sentence

January 14, 2019

January 14, 2019, William Bleier - Generocity

 

Before she met her “angel,” ND received three separate convictions in Philadelphia for prostitution and solicitation from 1993 to 1999 which saw her serving more than six months in jail.

 

It was all to earn money to support her dependency to cocaine.

 

“Six months felt like six years,” she said.

 

Shortly after her release, ND, who asked that Generocity not publish her full name, decided to get clean. She entered a rehab facility in 2001, but struggled to rectify her poor credit, stay on the path to sobriety and understand the options she might have to clear her criminal record.

 

That’s where her angel comes in.

 

It came in the form of Sharon Dietrich, the litigation director and managing attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and her colleague Jamie Gullen, a staff attorney, who push to give people like ND a literal and figurative clean slate.

 

The nonprofit, founded in 1966, has provided free legal assistance to more than one million low-income Philadelphians, according to its website. On Dec. 26, CLS celebrated the enactment of the Clean Slate Law, a measure they helped develop and advocated for.

 

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