Need to clear your juvenile record? There's an app for that . . . at least, there is if you live in Illinois.
Understanding that a juvenile record can have a long-term detrimental impact on one's future opportunities, a group encouraging civic leadership among underserved Chicago youth began investigating ways to help young people who may have had some problems in the past get back on track.
Through its research, Mikva Challenge discovered that of the 25,000 young people arrested in Chicago in 2012, only 70 got their records expunged. This does not indicate a high number of denials of applications for expungement, but rather that only a tiny fraction of those with juvenile records even petitioned for expungement. According to a report of the Juvenile Justice Council, all of those who petitioned for expungement were successful in having their records sealed.
The problem, Mikva Challenge found, is that young people simply do not know their options and do not understand the legal processes necessary to get their records expunged. Without adequate resources, many of these juveniles and young adults thought they were simply fated to carrying a criminal record for the rest of their lives.
In order to address the problem of young people not getting juvenile records expunged, Mikva Challenge worked with Smart Chicago Collaborative and web app developer Cathy Deng to create Expunge.io. A Mikva Challenge press release describes the expungment app as follows:
"'Expunge.io' is a web app that can be accessed from any computer or smart phone. Once accessed the youth participant will answer a series of questions to find out if they qualify to get their record expunged. If eligibility requirements are met a pro bono lawyer will follow up to help finish the process. For those that do not qualify there are links to other resources for employment and education."
Helping juveniles to clear a criminal record can help them to move forward from past mistakes, and it can help break a cycle of criminal activity. Many of us have made foolish mistakes as young people, and fortunately, we do not have those mistakes held against us every day of our lives. However, when a young adult does not realize that he or she may be able to legally erase the record of those mistakes, he or she may continue to be hindered by them.
Expunge.io is only available for Illinois youth; however, it would be exciting if something similar were developed for teens and young adults in Oklahoma. In fact, an expungement app for all Oklahomans plagued by a criminal record--not just juveniles--would be beneficial to those seeking relief from the past.
The biggest deterrent to getting an expungement is not understanding that you qualify and not knowing where to turn for help. If you would like to find out if you are eligible for expungement and would like to learn more about clearing your criminal record in Oklahoma, call 405-778-4800 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced expungement lawyer.
UPDATE: It appears this app is no longer available.