INDIANAPOLIS — Starting a new chapter can be difficult with the weight of criminal history. However, this Saturday, people interested in having their record expunged can take the first steps at a free event.
“Let’s get this out of your way so that no one can use this against you by law,” Carlette Duffy, Deputy Director of Programming for The Office of Public Health and Safety said.
Duffy is walking proof of success after a criminal history. She got her record expunged and is now in a position to help others.
“I worked for the state at the time, I made $7.15 an hour and they told me I made too much to receive food stamps for just me and my daughter,” Duffy said. “I didn’t know where to go beyond that. I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ So, I did what I did, and unfortunately, it took two years of my life.”
On January 28, 1997, Duffy was arrested and convicted of drug charges.
“I was young. A single mom with my own child, but then also care for three kids belonging to my older siblings,” Duffy said. “I did not know my resources. I didn’t know where to find resources.”
A crime that could have granted her 20 years behind bars. Duffy only served two years and one year of at-home detention.
“Back then, it was almost impossible to find employment that would pay you a living wage,” Duffy said.
Duffy says she had to work multiple jobs just to try and reach her goals.
A difficult road, that finally eased up a bit, in 2014. When Indiana Code 35-38-9 expanded laws allowing conviction records to be sealed or expunged.
“We went from being one of the more aggressive states as it relates to expungement to being the most progressive state,” Duffy said.
That felony charge holding Duffy back was expunged in 2015 allowing her to finally start her new chapter.
Now, she has her master’s degree and is the deputy director of programming for OPHS, helping others with criminal records get a second chance.
Saturday’s clinic will be the second one this year helping Hoosiers with a criminal history expunge or seal their history.
“Having people who believe in why you’re doing it, have your back who have your best interest,” Duffy said.
The expungement clinic is offered by the Office of Public Health and Safety and the Neighborhood Christian legal clinic from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the JTV Hill Community Center located at 1806 Columbia Ave.
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