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Nonprofit helps those with former convictions find jobs

Pitt County DA meets with legal counsel to expunge previous convictions
Pitt County DA meets with legal counsel to expunge previous convictions(Maddie Kerth)
Published: Nov. 6, 2021 at 10:50 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Amid labor shortages across the country, including in Eastern Carolina, a nonprofit partnered with other organizations to hold a one-stop shop on Saturday for those with prior convictions to get an expungement and get a job.

NC Reentry Innovators for Success (NC RIFS) held more than 100 appointments on Saturday with legal counsel volunteers from Legal Aide presenting expungements to Pitt County District Attorney Faris Dixon.

“What we really want to do is get people back into the community, working, taking care of their families, paying their taxes just like everybody else, and contributing,” said Dixon.

Often, a past conviction is the one thing preventing a person from getting a job. After they have served their time and proven they are on a better path, they can request the conviction be removed from their record.

“Offering these criminal expungement clinics enables more people to have eligibility to feel like they are part of the community and also to feel like they can contribute after they have some kind of relief,” said NC RIFS executive director Portia Bright Pittman.

An expungement of a former conviction essentially erases the incident from a person’s record.

“What that does is allows people you have gotten in trouble before with the criminal justice system, to show that they have had a period of time where they have not gotten trouble again and have become contributors to the community,” said Dixon, “and this allows them to get certain cases dismissed.”

The NC RIFS clinics operate on an appointment only basis, so those seeking their assistance should visit their website for more information on expungement processes.

The organization says that these clinics are helpful not only to their clients, but also to the community as a whole.

“People getting clearance of a criminal background and getting some kind of relief, this will enable our community to be able to house more people, to be able to employ more people, and to also we able to make sure that we are taking care of our youth,” said Pittman.

The team is planning more clinics after the holiday season to prepare workers for a job in the new year.

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