It’s already tough enough to find work in Nevada, especially with the second highest unemployment rate in the country. But what if you have a criminal record?
Landing a job may be even more of a challenge.
There is a groundbreaking event taking place at the end of the month aimed at wiping the slate clean for some people with criminal pasts.
It will be an opportunity for them to get their records sealed.
There will be a one day workshop with all of the necessary players: judges, attorneys and representatives from the courts.
So a process which could take months, will now take one day.
One man explains he was a casino worker in the 1980s and a bad decision resulted in an arrest for drug dealing.
“There was a lot of social drugs being done and so on and so forth,” he said. “It was stupid to get involved.”
He requests that the I-Team not use his name. He plans to attend the one day event.
The crime got him a 15 year sentence with four years in prison, the rest on parole, but a lifetime with a past.
“That was definitely a learning experience. Let’s put it that way,” he said.
He’s now a grandfather who says he’s turned his life around.
“I’ve been very blessed. My children have all accepted my apologies and so on and so forth and the remorse and we’ve moved on.”
But his criminal past has followed him.
“It has prevented people from progressing,” said Violeta Mendez, legal aid.
She says for employment, education, and more, a criminal record can interfere. That’s why Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is holding the “Clean Slate” event where ex-cons have a chance to get their criminal records sealed. Mendez says there are no attorney fees and no shame.
“There’s also an emotional side to it,” Mendez said.
And that’s why this longtime Las Vegas resident is signing up.
“At 77 years old why would it matter? It’s just a psychological thing.”
“They paid their dues. They paid their fines, maybe they went to prison or jail and did the counseling,” Mendez said.
“I just want to right the wrong that I did as much as I possibly can,” he said.
Anyone with questions can call the Legal Aid Center at (702) 386-1070 x1500. The event is Aug. 27 but the deadline to sign up is Aug. 11.
There will be some fees for paperwork. Not all crimes are eligible and a judge can deny the request.