New Law to Allow Some Ex-Cons to Pay and Erase Criminal Record

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(Memphis) De Andre Brown is an ex-convict.

He’s also the founder and director of Lifeline To Success, “Our job is to train ex-offenders on how to return to society as positive productive citizens.”

The group does this through classroom exercises and community service, particularly cleaning up blight around the city.

Brown said it can be hard for his men and women to find jobs because of their criminal pasts, but that could soon change.

Under a new Tennessee Law going into effect July 1st, a nonviolent ex-convict with a single misdemeanor or felony can have their record expunged after five years.

They must have paid all fines and met all obligations then then pay a $350 fee.

WREG’s Political Commentator Otis Sanford thinks it’s a great idea, “There are a lot of people especially in this community who have minor nonviolent criminal convictions and because that is on their record they cannot get jobs.”

But Brown believes it shouldn’t be as easy as just paying a fee.

He thinks ex-cons should be required to go through some re-entry training before their records are cleaned so they don’t fall into the trap of crime again, “I know how I was when I first came home from prison and if it hadn’t been for some rehabilitative services on the outside then I don’t think I would be as successful as I am now.”

The state estimates this will raise about $7 million a year and that will be split between the state and the public defenders expungement fund.

This bill was sponsored by Representative Karen Camper and Senator Reginald Tate of Memphis.

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