Second Chance partners with Goodwill and law enforcement to expunge criminal records

“You have people who really want to do better, and every time they try they’re given a no and they’re given a closed door.”
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 8:59 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) -A partnership between law enforcement and a few community organizations aims to help people with criminal records, start fresh with a clean slate.

Operation Clean Slate is a collaboration with Columbus’ local law enforcement, Goodwill, and Second Chance. The goal is to help people with criminal records find work. All they have to do is apply. According to the Executive Director of Second Chance, Transition Corp, Jennifer Dunlap, from now until the 14th of October, anyone with a criminal record, whether it be felony convictions, misdemeanors, or pardons, can have it taken off of their record, free of charge.

“What happens right now is people see a lot of jobs available, but they don’t really realize that a lot of people aren’t qualifying for those jobs because of their criminal history. And that’s what we’re here to remedy. You can have all the jobs available in the world but if a person’s criminal history is making it so they don’t qualify, or that they feel they don’t qualify, then that person will still be under employed,” said Dunlap. “You have people who really want to do better, and every time they try they’re given a no and they’re given a closed door.”

Dunlap also said, the Muscogee County Sherriff’s Office and Columbus Police Department, agreed to provide records to the partnership, free of charge. She said, typically it’s a $20 cost associated with obtaining records.

Norman Quarles, a convicted felon himself, said he’d like to see more programs like Operation Clean Slate, that will help everyone who finds themselves on what some might call the wrong track. According to Quarles, it’s easy for someone to go back to jail after getting out without having the right opportunities.

“After having a felony, there are so many hoops they have to jump through just to get a second chance,” said Quarles. “We all need to put our hand in somewhere, to be able to help, what’s going on in this city.”

Vice President of Mission Services for Goodwill, Tricia Konan, said all people have to do is come into the Career Center on Macon Road and fill out an application.

“Starting at 9 a.m. to collect paperwork for us to release your information to Second Chance relief, and start the process of evaluating your record, once that happens, Second Hhance will reach out and make an appointment for our event later on in November,” said Konan.

It’s important to note, this has to be done in person, organizers said people have to come to the Goodwill Career Center because they will have to present their I.D. and sign a record release form on sight. For more information, click here.

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