Second Chances Summit Held to Clear Names of those with Criminal Records

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Hundreds of people with criminal records or who were formerly convicted felons walked into the Nordlof center Saturday hoping to get a renewed chance at life’s opportunities.

“I want my name cleared,” says attendee Kristina Disluke.

“It’s a big issue in this community that people who moved on with their lives and are doing the right things but they can’t get a job, they can’t get that job interview, they can’t get housing, other situations because they have that past discretion and it’s unfortunate,” says Senator Steve Stadelman (D-34th).

One by one, those who were eligible were handed folders waiting to meet with an attorney, like Paul Vella.

“For sealing or expunging these, it will lift that barrier so that you are able to do what you want to do,” said Vella.  “It will clean up your record so when they are doing your background checks. I don’t want to say it will hid things, but you won’t be able to see it. So it will open more opportunities for you,” said Vella.

Formerly convicted felon Kristina Disluke says that she had been charged for a crime she didn’t commit.  The incident happened in her home, therefore, responsibility fell back onto her.

“Any apartment I’ve applied for they knew I had a felony, I’ve had to explain it,” said Disluke. “For me to have something like that attached to me for over 20 years. It’s really nice to have this  so that you are able to at least have an opportunity to have your particular file or case looked at to have it removed”, says Disluke.  She says having to go through this process gives her perspective and hopes people think before acting to avoid running into law, because you might not get a second chance.

“You got to be aware of the people you’re around and who you’re with and the things that you’re doing,” said Disluke.  “Because one wrong move or one wrong friend can follow you for the rest of your life.”

Organizers plan to hold another summit.

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