Emma is helping New Yorkers clear their name. Through the Case Closed Project, Emma is working with clients to seal their conviction records, allowing them to get better jobs and go back to school. Between guiding clients through the complex process of record sealing and pushing for policy changes, Emma is bringing justice to people who have been overlooked and underserved for far too long.
The Case Closed Project was launched in October 2017 in response to a new law which allows some New Yorkers to seal their criminal records. Now, people who have not committed a crime in ten years and who have no more than two convictions, including one felony, can apply to have their record sealed. This change has opened up an incredible opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers who for years have carried the burdens of a criminal record. As Emma explains, the “people who are getting their records sealed are experiencing life-changing effects.” Now, Emma can work with these people to turn back decades of distress.
Having a criminal record is a severe challenge in our city. New Yorkers with criminal records are routinely barred from job opportunities, denied basic government benefits, have trouble securing affordable housing, and live under the weight of institutional and personal discrimination. Emma has seen these consequences first hand: “People with a non-violent felony from 1983 still can’t get the jobs that they want this long after it happened.” Many of these New Yorkers are victims of outdated, biased policing methods that aggressively targeted communities of color, and now individuals from those communities are still paying the price of this unfair treatment. Thankfully, Emma and Case Closed are making a difference for these people today.
cases sealed for New Yorkers
In just six months, Case Closed has already shown some remarkable results. We are working with more than 150 clients throughout all five boroughs. For 32 of these clients we have filed sealing applications, with 26 different cases sealed so far. Of those who have had their records sealed, some have already obtained new jobs, applied for college, and moved to neighborhoods with better schools for their children. This is only the tip of the iceberg; Emma speculates that there are at least 600,000 individuals eligible for sealing state-wide.
Fortunately, through the Case Closed Project, Emma “can focus on things that are problematic in the law, and put my energy towards fixing those problems.” By helping individual clients and pushing for systemic reform, Case Closed can make equal justice a reality for even more New Yorkers in need. Emma is excited by the challenge. With the Case Closed Project, she says that she “can focus on things that are problematic in the law, and put my energy towards fixing those problems.”
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for even more New Yorkers in need.