The “Know Your Rights Week: Closing Cases, Opening Doors,” is a week-long series of public legal workshops between August 6-10 held throughout Queens, including Jamaica. In the workshops, participants can access free, confidential advice from lawyers on ways to alleviate unnecessary barriers to employment and economic opportunity, including applications to seal their non-violent criminal conviction records, cleaning up rap sheets and obtaining Certificates of Relief and Good Conduct.
“If you’ve proven that you’ve turned your life around and are making good, the burden of a past non-violent mistake should not ruin or impede your future opportunities for the rest of your life,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “Second chances and social justice reform are an integral part of New York values. This is about eliminating barriers to employment and economic opportunity, reducing recidivism rates and breaking the cycle.”
Any criminal conviction can significantly hinder a person’s ability to secure employment, housing, financial aid, professional licenses and numerous other rights and benefits. But under New York’s conviction sealing law, which applies to specific non-violent crimes, there’s the belief that non-violent offenders who have turned their lives around for the better should no longer have to bear the stigma of a conviction or face unnecessary barriers to opportunity and employment.
“Our hope and aim with ‘Know Your Rights Weeks’ is to bolster public awareness and connect eligible New Yorkers with free legal assistance and, ultimately, relief,” Katz added. “The tireless efforts on the part of our community partners – and especially the Legal Aid Society – to equip and empower New Yorkers of their rights have a direct impact on building a better future for the growing families of Queens.”
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: LIFE Camp, Inc., @ 111-12 Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica
RSVP: Call Germain Thompson at 646.300.0538