Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law!

I wrote the following thanking Governor Wolf for the Clean Slate Law just passed…..

Dear Governor Wolf,

I am overjoyed that you signed 1419 into law. I feel this way deeply out of moral conviction that all humans are worthy. Every human being deserves a second chance at life. I also know about the race-based discrepancy in sentencing and conviction. I know that Justice has overlooked the facts and sent people to prison based on the color of their skin or their ability to pay for an attorney.

That said, can you go a step further and “pardon”those of us who have psychiatric diagnoses stuck on our medical records? A psychiatric diagnosis bars a person from decent medical care, from housing and employment. A diagnosis also keeps a person stuck on disability for life, when this is not warranted.

Often these diagnoses are given in haste, in fact, given in ten minutes or less. Some diagnoses are given based on gender, race, or economic status. Psychiatrists sometimes use diagnosis to get insurance to pay the bills, or to keep a patient interred in a mental “hospital” longer, or to “section” a patient. These diagnoses are given without any scientific, qualitative tests (such as a blood test or brain scan). Having a diagnosis means your rights and freedom (where you live, whether you have children, etc) are now limited or taken away completely.

Will you consider giving some of us the ability to wipe our records clean legally? Please, keep being the awesome leader you always are. I am so happy I live in Pennsylvania!

Julie Greene
Beaver County

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I had to say, “Some of us” because that I know of, many people don’t want their records erased, right? They want to keep on being patients. Why? Because staying patients serves a function for them, or for their families, or even for their doctors.  After all, a diagnosis means you don’t  have to work! How handy! You get free money. For some, dying young won’t matter till they get really, really sick. Even then, they very well may continue to deny the reality, and deny beyond the grave.

Feedback and comments welcome!