Clean Slate Delaware works to expunge records
DELAWARE – Advocates in Delaware are working to help expunge records for the nearly 290,000 people with records in the state who qualify.
They tell us despite this less than one thousand claims were successfully processed in 2020, a number the ACLU of Delaware as part of their Clean Slate Initiative campaign, in partnership with Delaware Center for Justice, Office of Defense Services, and other organizations are currently working to fix with 4 workshops and office hours already held with the aim of raising awareness on what the expungement process requires.
“We invite community members to come and see a presentation that outlines what eligibility means as well as how the process for different types of expungements functions and which resources are available to them as they navigate it,” said Clean Slate Delaware Director John Reynolds.
The office hours are a more individual session where people can see their cases, and which parts are appealed, with additional training also being held by the ACLU for the legal representatives that would work with those looking to purge their record.
A crucial part is understanding what is in a record, and if it can be expunged before the required fingerprinting that would have to take place at a police station at a cost of $55.
The Delaware Office of Defense Services is one of the few state agencies that can look at those records before the expungement process is started and is working to educate people on what is on their file.
“When we bring people in we explain to them what it is that’s on their record what they may be eligible for so when they go to the station they are armed with some idea of what they qualify for,” said Offense of Defense Services Legislative and Communications Director Jon Offredo.
Another crucial part is the total cost of the process. A typical expungement can cost a minimum of $127, a price that advocates say might not seem high except oftentimes records can prevent people from getting jobs and earning any money at all.
“For an individual who had a record that is impacting their ability to find work that compensates them well, $100, $127 can be a big hurdle,” Reynolds said.
They both say the toughest challenge for them is raising the awareness, of just how many people can qualify, but might need their help to get a successful expungement.
“We have to spread awareness some people have records and they might not even know it maybe it was something found not guilty it is still on your record,” Offredo said.
Reynolds tells us over 100 people have been helped as a result of the workshops so far, and the proof is in what he hears from people able to get a conviction that could prevent education, loans, homeownership, and employment off of their record.
“It’s the amazing voice mails I hear from people who tell me the deep emotional relief that they feel that emotional component of having this no longer be something to worry about,” he said.
Reynolds says that more workshops are planned for April, May, and June in both Sussex and Kent Counties.
Those looking to apply to the ODS office to see if they can help them find out the information in their records before attempting expungement can go online.