MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A big part of criminal justice reform is giving people a second chance once they've served their time.
In other words, a clean slate by wiping away certain crimes from their records - if prosecutors approve.
A criminal record can mean the difference in basic necessities from housing to work.
Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk Heidi Kuhn thinks the more people who wipe away their criminal past, the more they can contribute to society.
Her staff was at the Shelby County Jail Saturday to review criminal records and determine if any past convictions qualify to be removed from a person's record. Folks lined up early for their chance to find out if they could be helped.
“The opportunity to change someone's life is really important to me, and I am a big proponent of second chance. And I want to make sure people have the opportunity to get their case expunged,” said Kuhn. “If it can truly be expunged, it gives them that opportunity to move forward. Just because they have a past doesn’t mean they can’t have a future.”
Once charges are determined eligible, an individual’s record goes before the Shelby County District Attorney for approval. That process can take up to 30 days.
More than 800 people showed up for Saturday's clinic.
Future clinics hope to add different elements like job recruiters and voter registration.