State Senator Leroy Comrie and The Legal Aid Society will host a Case Closed event at 7 p.m. in Queens Village on Dec. 6 at Grace Gospel Tabernacle in Queens Village.
The purpose of the event is to help New Yorkers with fewer than two convictions in cases from over 10 years ago get a second chance at life by sealing their criminal records, according to Comrie’s office.
Ex-convicts are prevented from moving forward in their lives because of housing and work discrimination, the state senator noted.
“Criminal record discrimination disadvantages too many folks who are working hard to be honest and productive members of our community,” said Comrie.
A poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that runs policy analysis, found that 34 percent of unemployed men ages 25 to 54 are out of work because of convictions. Moreover, a Department of Justice report indicated that 50 percent or more criminal records — even among the best-maintained record systems — often lack final disposition information, up-to-date criminal histories and/or have criminal records that are not complete.
Ex-convicts with two or fewer convictions total in New York may be eligible to get help from the Case Closed team provided by The Legal Aid Society at the church located at 96-09 Springfield Blvd, according to Comrie’s office. Wilton J. DeGraffe is pastor of Grace Gospel Tabernacle.
Prosecutors and law enforcement agents are not expected at the event, but representatives of the Legal Aid Society’s Social Work Department will be there help individuals get a hold of their criminal rap sheet and educate the community about their rights, and this could lead to direct representation, according to Emma Goodman, the Coordinator of Case Closed at The Legal Aid Society.
“Case Closed is working to guide people through the process in a way that brings closure to the emotional scars of criminal involvement as well as closure of their public record,” said Goodman.
To RSVP for the event, call 718-765-6359.
“I commend the Legal Aid Society for taking on this issue boldly, and I am proud to work with them to co-sponsor our Case Closed event for southeast Queens residents,” said Comrie. “If anyone thinks they may qualify, I encourage them to stop by my office or give us a call.”