This Summer Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) is partnering with The People’s Emergency Center to offer Do It Yourself Expungement Clinics. At these clinics, interested community members affected by the maintenance of criminal history record information will join PLSE staff and volunteers to learn about the creation, dissemination and destruction of criminal records. Participants will create expungement petitions, which can be filed in court to destroy these records and the barriers they create to employment, education, housing, volunteer opportunities, and any other opportunity that one can imagine.
Too often criminal history record information (a record of the actions that the criminal justice system has chosen to take against a person) is used to replace personal history (who someone is as a person). Our DIY Expungement Clinics are designed to assist people in creating the expungement petitions necessary to liberate them from the long lasting burden of a criminal record. However, our goal goes well beyond simply destroying harmful records. Our mission is to empower people by giving them knowledge they can share with family, friends and acquaintances who are similarly affected, while connecting people from different neighborhoods and backgrounds to create a greater sense of shared community. In this way, we hope that the impact of these clinics will reach well beyond the classrooms and computer labs in which they are held.