Several groups in Indiana are working to help ex-criminal offenders initiate the expungement process. In 2013, Indiana passed a “second chance law,” which enables individuals with certain types of criminal records to apply for expungement. As with other expungement laws, the individuals most likely to benefit from Indiana’s policy are those with convictions for misdemeanor offenses or even non-violent felonies. Under Indiana law, individuals whose expungement requests are granted have their records sealed and removed from public view—not erased.
In mid-April, legal officials for Indiana’s Vanderburgh County gave a presentation at Ivy Tech Community College. The presentation focused on the expungement process, providing information and advice meant to help ex-offenders understand expungement eligibility and get started. Judges and other public legal officials were on hand to explain the nuances of expungement in Indiana.
Last month in Evansville, another group offered a similar event to help individuals with criminal records learn more about expungement. Evansville is a city in southern Indiana with a very high poverty rate. In 2016, Evansville earned a “Promise Zone” designation, which will make the city more competitive for federal grant funding in the future. Nationally, Promise Zone designations are meant to help cities fight poverty over ten-year periods.
As part of its fight against poverty, Evansville has instituted a new Expungement Clinic program. At the clinic, ex-offenders can speak with a lawyer about expungement. The lawyer will provide educational details about Indiana’s expungement laws, including insight on which crimes can and cannot be expunged and how to apply for expungement. The clinics are free and have been offered on weekday evenings at the local library. Officials state that the program could be ongoing if there is enough interest.
Programs like these highlight an ongoing challenge with expungement. On the one hand, expunging old criminal offenses can help remove barriers to employment for individuals whose criminal records have impacted their job prospects. On the other hand, expungement is a complex process that many people don’t know about or fully understand. Even those who are aware of expungement may not be able to afford the legal support that they need to get the paperwork completed and filed for consideration.
At backgroundchecks.com, we are doing our part to make expungement opportunities more readily available to ex-offenders. We designed our MyClearStart program to help individuals explore and pursue this process. The program includes an eligibility test, which allows users to determine whether they might qualify for expungement based on their records and the laws in their state. From there, MyClearStart can provide an easy-to-understand guide through the rest of the process. Start with a free eligibility test here.
To learn more about criminal record expungement, read our FAQ page on the subject.