DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s a second chance for hundreds and possibly one day soon thousands of people in Durham County.
“Well, so far we have expunged 3,100 charges,” mentioned Satana Deberry.
Deberry is the Durham County District Attorney.
Her office recently worked to clear misdemeanor convictions of nearly 400 people.
Some of those charges were for things like trespassing or marijuana possession. Those who had charges expunged were 16 or 17 years old at the time of their offenses.
“Many of us know, especially since COVID-19 that a lot of our work is online, and a lot of people apply for jobs online. There are all these algorithms and computer programs that look for criminal records to do that first cut,” Deberry said.
They are making this happen through the Second Chance Act which expands expungement eligibility.
Also, the “Raise The Age” law, which states that 16 and 17-year-olds who commit crimes in North Carolina are no longer automatically charged as adults.
“We want and expect our children to matriculate into adulthood, but when we are putting them in a position that on the onset of adulthood, they have this barrier that will automatically filter them out for so many job opportunities,” mentioned Nisha Williams.
Williams is the chairman of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. She said for teens this also opens educational opportunities and even when it comes to one day getting loans.
“The DA’s office is trying to rectify something that was wrong in the past and also two that we can recognize as a community that 16- and 17-year-olds should not be presently and should not have been previously charged with crimes as adults,” stated Williams.
In the coming months, the district attorney expects to submit another 8,000 expunction petitions dating back to 1979.