Tessa Hill-Alton, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP

Tessa Hill-Alton, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, said the organization has talked to West Baltimore residents and many said having a record of non-violent minor arrests prevented them from getting and keeping jobs. “Some people get hired, work for a month and then when the background check happens. A month later they get let go, even though they were doing a good job,” Hill-Alton said.

To help those people the NAACP offers to expunge their records for free and will begin offering a class on the expungement process in Sandtown-Winchester. The exact location and date were not known by press time.

According to the Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services’ website, the following people can apply to have their crimes expunged:

* “You were found not guilty.

* The charge was dismissed.

* The charge resulted in probation before judgment (excluding charges of driving while under the influence or driving while impaired).

* The State’s Attorney did not prosecute (nolle prosequi) your charge.

* The court indefinitely postponed your case (stet).

* Your case was settled.

* You were convicted of only one non-violent criminal act and granted a full and unconditional pardon by the governor. For a pardon packet contact the Parole Commission’s Office at 410-585-3200

* Juvenile Waived

Each case costs $30 to process and it takes about 90 days. “You can get the fee waived, but that has to go through the court, and if you go through a private attorney that usually costs hundreds of dollars,” said Hill-Alton.

In addition to running expungement classes, the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP offers resources at its Gilmore office such as programs for ex-offenders on becoming better fathers and overcoming substance abuse.