Philly Bar Association to hold free criminal record expungement clinic

The Philadelphia Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division will hold a free "expungement clinic" on Saturday, Nov. 12, for people eligible to have certain prior arrests or convictions expunged or sealed from one's record.

Having one's criminal record expunged refers to removing certain offenses from a person's record. In some cases, certain convictions cannot be expunged, so they will remain on a person's record, but can be sealed from the general public.

The sessions will be held in partnership with the Mayor's Office, the District Attorney's Office and Community Legal Services, the Philadelphia Bar Association said in a news release Tuesday.

"Having a record sealed can allow a person to pursue permanent employment, education or housing that would otherwise not be available to them," the Bar Association said in the release. "It can dramatically improve an individual's quality of life and lower their chances of recidivism, and hence also improve the community-at-large."

Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Gaetan J. Alfano said in the release: "This is our most important initiative of the year. The expungement of criminal records is significant work, as we need to restore compassion and commonsense into how we, as a society, treat minor offenses." 

For more information, registration and volunteer sign-ups, visit GetExpunged.org. The workshops are for people who meet certain requirements.

Space is limited. Registration will close Nov. 10. Applicants are asked to first fill out a screening form.

The free expungement clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 12 at these locations:

  • Shepard Recreation Center, 5700 Haverford Ave., West Philadelphia.
  • Francis J. Myers Recreation Center, 5800 Chester Ave., Southwest Philadelphia.
  • Vare Recreation Center, 2600 Moore St., South Philadelphia.
  • Athletic Recreation Center, 1401 N. 26th St., North Philadelphia.
  • Rivera Recreation Center, 3201 N. 5th St., North Philadelphia (near Fairhill).
  • Waterview Recreation Center, 5826 Mcmahon St., East Germantown.

The news release said the clinic is being held in response to Pennsylvania Act 5, which goes into effect Nov. 5 and expands criminal-record sealing in the state.

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