The Pro Bono Program & Clinic filed 245 petitions for expungements of juvenile criminal records over the last two years. The petitions were filed on behalf of 69 youths living in areas of the city of Chicago with the highest crime rates. All of the petitions were granted, giving these individuals the opportunity to start their lives anew and putting them in a better position to succeed in life.
A juvenile record can follow youth into their adult years and be a significant barrier to employment, housing and other opportunities. Many employers will not hire someone with a criminal record. Also, many landlords will not rent to a person with a criminal conviction. “Having a criminal record is a barrier to success and housing. The Pro Bono Clinic is committed to providing expungement and sealing services to adults and juveniles in need to help ensure that they can reach their full potential,” said Kelly B. Lindstrom, staff attorney at The John Marshall Law School Pro Bono Clinic.
The Pro Bono Program & Clinic has partnered with West Care Foundation in the Chicago Face Forward Initiative, which is designed to break the cycle of poverty, crime and unemployment that plagues Chicago’s inner city. West Care provides social services to individuals who are court involved. The role of the Pro Bono Program & Clinic is to provide juvenile expungement services to clients of West Care. The John Marshall Law School students and staff attorney have assisted these juveniles by assessing their records for eligibility, completing the necessary paperwork and then appearing in Juvenile Court on their behalf.
The Clinic also has helped over 30 adult clients this year with clearing their criminal records.