Having a criminal record in the United States can present a lifetime of barriers including obstacles to finding employment and housing. Many lawmakers and policy advocates recognize the need to lessen these barriers for those who have been impacted by the criminal legal system, and advocate for pathways to record clearance. With COVID19 contributing to staggering rates of unemployment, there is no better time than now for more states and the federal government to make the expungement process more accessible.
Brigades have tackled some of this work and have partnered with various organizations and legal communities to assist in finding pathways for record clearance. Code for PDX’s RecordSponge was a project that came organically from a volunteer and legal expert in criminal record expungement who believed there could be a software solution. In the spring of 2020, RecordSponge was adopted by Portland Community College’s CLEAR Clinic, which runs free legal aid clinics for various legal needs, including record expungement. RecordSponge has also been adopted by other service providers in the state.
Code for BTV’s ExpungeVT attempts to streamline the process of gathering and highlighting relevant information from online dockets; and generates record clearing petitions tailored to the circumstances. They’ve partnered with Vermont Legal Aid to organize an expungement clinic in that county, VLA embraced EXpungeVT internally and every attorney that participates in a VLA organized clinic is required to install the extension.
Code for Boston’s CleanSlate project provided an opportunity to partner with organizations such as Citizens for Juvenile Justice and Greater Boston Legal Services to develop an application that would ease the process of sealing juvenile records.
Code for PDX
RecordSponge is software that helps community organizations quickly analyze an individual’s criminal history to determine if they qualify to have their records expunged.
Code for BTV
ExpungeVT attempts to streamline the process of gathering and highlighting relevant information from online dockets; and generates record clearing petitions tailored to the circumstances.
Code for Boston
CleanSlate is a project application that helps simplify and clarify the process of sealing juvenile records. The app makes it faster and easier for sealing clinic volunteers to help people seal their juvenile records.