This week it’s time to celebrate National Expungement Week (NEW)—a national effort to assist people affected by the “War on Drugs.”
Over 30 individual organizations are joining this year’s event in hopes of helping U.S. citizens expunge their convictions and clear their permanent records. “Too many people are locked up in this country, and far too many people are still locked out of society long after they’ve completed their sentence,” said Torie Marshall, director of programs at Cage-Free Repair, in a press release. “This week offers a way to provide legal relief and wraparound services to justice-impacted people and their families while calling for automated expungement.” NEW reports that 77 million Americans have some sort of conviction on their record, which can restrict their ability to obtain housing, jobs, education, public assistance and even voting rights.
The first NEW event was last year, which featured events that occurred in 15 cities. According to a NEW press release, 298 people were assisted with clearing or sealing their record. Also, an estimated 400 people were also helped with employment resources, voter registration and health screenings too.
Running between Sept. 21-28, the weeklong event will feature services in 29 different cities, from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Washington D.C. It is recommended that interested parties read NEW’s FAQ to begin, as each state approaches expungement differently. The process can be difficult to begin, and sometimes confusing to pursue. With the help of NEW, more citizens will be able to clear their record in order to start fresh once again. Further questions can be answered on OffTheRecord.us.
Some areas of the U.S. have also been working on expungement efforts over the past year. Washington state, San Francisco, California and Denver, Colorado are just a few places where expungement efforts are getting major attention. Expungement is already a national conversation, so it’s only a matter of time before more people are able to receive the help they need.