Expungment Clinic: Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

Walking into the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center the historical gravity of the venue immediately began to sink in. During segregation in America, this venue was where the black residents of Lexington had to go for movies and shows. The irony of the segregation factor is directly related to the expungement clinic that was going on. Often times, people with criminal records are segregated from equal opportunity in the workforce and community. Even though segregation during the civil rights movement and prior was implemented on blacks who had committed no crime, the fact still remains that there was a need to recognize an injustice that existed in the system.

The clinic was designed to help people with criminal records gain information about how to get their crimes expunged and allowed them to speak directly to attorneys who could help with their specific case for expungement. An initial informative power point presentation was preceded by the one on one meetings with attorneys. Next, the attendees were able to gain information about their convictions. Then, the attendees consulted with Attorney’s to determine whether or not their offenses were expungable. If the offenses were expungable, we informed them about the process to have their records permanently expunged.

The injustice for people with criminal records exists when they have completely paid their debt to society for their crime and have showed that they have taken steps to turn their lives around yet the label of being a criminal follows them and doesn’t allow them to move on to an improved lifestyle. The expungement process corrects this injustice because it allows people with past offenses to move on. Instead of being left with no option other than criminal activity, people who are able to have their records expunged are afforded the opportunity to become productive citizens.

By: Michael Roman

University of Kentucky College of Law, J.D. Candidate, 2019

ICJ Law Clerk