MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dozens waited patiently to get help with clearing their criminal records Saturday morning at a Binghampton church where an event was offering many Memphians a clean slate.
Shelby County Criminal Court hosted an expungement clinic First Baptist Church-Broad. For Calvin Sanford, it was a chance at a second chance.
“Me being incarcerated over 20 something times in my entire life, today I have no record. I got expungement,” Sanford said.
He didn’t want to tell the world his situation, but agreed to speak because it could help someone else.
Criminal Court Clerk Heidi Kuhn said the clinic offers people opportunity to be able to get jobs, to go to school, to get home loans.
“It just gets them put back onto the right track,” she said.
Sanford said he is proudly walking down the right track, after falling off at one point. He had a lot of dismissed cases, he said, but they too were disrupting his dreams.
“People think dismissed cases are automatically off your record, but that’s not true,” he said.
Ten percent of Americans who have criminal records have no idea that they can even be expunged, Kuhn said.
More than 4,100 people have had their records expunged at clinics like these since 2018, changing lives for those individuals and their families.
Sanford says this step was the first, and biggest, to turn his life around.
“I’m not all-so-special, I’m a vessel. I was used,” he said. “It’s for God, to let people know if I did it, anybody can do it.”
The $100 expungement fee was waived at Saturday’s clinic. The county also has a new program that allows people with fines and fees five years or older to pay 50% of the total, as part of a settlement solution.