We believe that support and fair treatment of individuals with criminal records is fundamental for a functioning society. The fact that our criminal justice systems create disparities means our society is not working properly. Criminal records impact individuals and families far beyond the punishment of a crime and keep people from living a good life, which everyone has a right to.
As a project-based initiative, we seek projects and work that align with our values and goals to support our mission and vision.
- Community - Lived experience equals expertise in our book. We will work directly with individuals who have criminal records and/or have interacted with the justice system to center their expertise in systems change.
- Collaborations - Build and support existing networks and relationships with people and organizations working to support individuals with criminal records and improve their interactions with various systems.
- Policies - Policies should be informed by those most affected in order to ensure the intended benefits are realized. There is substantial value in creating tailored policy solutions in partnership with community to support individuals with criminal records.
- Systems - Institutional and systemic racism is embedded within criminal justice systems. We will work to acknowledge, and to the best of our ability, dismantle the racist procedures and policies that exist within these systems to ensure individuals with criminal records can live a good life.
Our mission is to improve policies and practices that harm those with criminal records in Minnesota by creating space for impacted individuals to share their experiences so that together we can create change within our criminal justice systems.
We envision a Minnesota where having a criminal record does not mean experiencing health disparities that result from factors such as housing and employment discrimination or inaccessible physical and mental healthcare.
Who We Are
The Minnesota Clean Slate Alliance is made up of Alyssa Scott, Kshitiz Karki, Liv Reyes, and Sasha Hulsey who got their start in this work at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on a project exploring the systemic barriers individuals with prostitution and prostitution-related crimes face when accessing criminal expungement. We started by investigating systems in Hennepin County and became independent researchers focusing on increasing access to criminal expungement, the act of sealing criminal records, and centering the voices of those most impacted. This community-based participatory research framework ensures our work is informed by those with lived experience.
Our expertise in community engagement, policy translation, education, and transformation, and legal networks led to the creation of the Minnesota Clean Slate Alliance, a project-based organization grounded in community with the goal of improving policies and practices that harm those with criminal records. The Minnesota Clean Slate Alliance assists with education, creation, and implementation of policies that provide more legal rights and opportunities to individuals with criminal records. Our work intends to support transformational policymaking that will provide a clean slate for Minnesotans with a criminal record through grants and contracts.
Systems Barriers to Expungement
This report explores the barriers that individuals with prostitution and prostitution-related convictions face to accessing criminal expungement. We investigated the legal and court systems involved in criminal expungement in Hennepin County. The most substantial findings included a lack of awareness about criminal expungement in this population and differing interpretations of the expungement statute among systems professionals.
In a capstone project for graduate school, we pursued implementation changes to criminal expungement policy to benefit individuals with prostitution and prostitution-related convictions. We utilized participatory research methods including an advisory group that was created to connect with more individuals impacted by sexual exploitation and a case study of one advisory group member’s experience. This advisory group also supported the creation of a policy tool and fact sheets about the criminal expungement process, included below.
Throughout the research for Reimagining Expungement, we noticed that there was no accessible resource that offered an overview of the entire criminal expungement process. We wanted to create a policy tool that not only gave an overview of criminal expungement, but also acknowledged cost and time estimates, barriers that frequently came up in our systems barriers exploration, and potential points of retraumatization that may occur from contact with different parts of the criminal justice system. This tool incorporates feedback and expertise from individuals impacted by sexual exploitation who have sought or are seeking expungement, as well as attorneys and advocates who work on criminal expungement cases.
Our hope is that this tool can be used by individuals interested in seeking criminal expungement who want to learn more about the process and what to expect. It can also be used by the general public to learn more about expungement, the important role it plays in our society, and some of the challenges and barriers that individuals seeking criminal expungement face to getting a second chance.
Download a PDF of “Steps for Seeking Criminal Expungement”
Explore the interactive “Steps for Seeking Criminal Expungement”
Similarly to the visual tool, we felt strongly about creating a resource for sexually exploited individuals. There is an expungement provision (Subvision 6a) that would greatly benefit their position as victims of exploitation as they seek criminal expungement. Throughout the research above, we identified how underutilized this provision is and a lack of awareness that it exists.
- MinnPost OpEd - Minnesota must reform its criminal justice system
- The Gender Policy Report - Survivors Deserve a Clean Slate
Additional Clean Slate Resources
Statewide Criminal Expungement
Help Seal My Record
Safe Harbor Minnesota
Resources for Sexually Exploited Youth
Minnesota Expungement Statute
Chapter 609A. Expungement