According to an ex-offender, most people who are convicted of a crime are also sentenced to “a lifetime of poverty.” Wayne Jacobs, now 66, spent much of his younger life in and out of correctional facilities, even serving time for involuntary manslaughter. He now runs a non-profit organization that seeks to help ex-cons get a fairer shot at a second chance. His group, X-Offenders for Community Development, has lobbied Philadelphia politicians to limit the use of criminal records in hiring. The lobbying has paid off, as the city recently enacted and implemented such a law.
Now Jacobs has set his sights higher. He expects that, within the next couple months, the Pennsylvania legislature will consider what he calls a “clean slate” law, a bill that will allow certain persons convicted or pleading guilty to specific low level, nonviolent crimes to have all records of those crimes sealed upon completion of court-ordered rehabilitation and sanctions.
One of the key components of the proposed law—it will make the sealing automatic upon completion of court-specified terms of rehabilitation. Accordingly, persons with such criminal records won’t have to file petitions one at a time.
Jacobs stresses that it’s not just convictions that keep people from getting good jobs. A record of arrest without conviction may also be available to a prospective employer, and can be used as a factor in determining whether to hire that person.
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At the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr., we have more than 30 years of criminal defense experience. Contact us online or call us at 610-565-0240 to set up an appointment. There is no charge for your initial consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We take Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as debit cards.