LEXINGTON (May 11, 2017) – Several organizations are coordinating a workshop aimed at helping people navigate a new law that allows expungement of certain low-level felonies.
The event, which will assist low-income and indigent people in the community, will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at the Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third St. in Lexington. When the organizations held the first workshop in February, 200 people attended.
Commerce Lexington, the Lexington Police Department, Together Lexington, Jubilee Jobs, OWL (Opportunity for Work and Learning), Leadership Lexington, the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and members of Leadership Lexington are coordinating the event.
“We know that people with steady jobs are less likely to commit crimes,” Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard said. “Individuals who are eligible for expungement have done what they’re supposed to do in order to overcome a past criminal mistake, and that mistake should not continue to hurt them in a job search.”
The workshop is being organized following the passage of a 2016 law that allows judges, upon request of the person previously convicted, to expunge certain low-level felonies after a period of time without other criminal activity. Through the work of a broad coalition, the bill passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan effort.
People who are interested in clearing something from their criminal record but can’t afford to hire an attorney can learn if they are eligible for expungement and how to clear their record. They will be able to talk to an attorney about getting free legal services if they qualify. Participants are encouraged to proof of income if they have it available.
“Limited expungement of non-violent felony convictions will help former offenders obtain and maintain employment,” said Carla Blanton, chair of Commerce Lexington, which supported the felony expungement legislation. “In turn, they will be more productive citizens, pay taxes and meet family obligations. We’re proud to partner with so many other community organizations to help people navigate the process.”