Laureen Kickham needed work, so she did as requested when the temporary employment agency asked her to supply a copy of any criminal history report. That’s when she was smacked with her past — a two-decade old felony cocaine possession charge that had been dismissed but was still there in black and white.
“It was on there, which was ugly,” said Kickham, 48, of Charlotte. The temp agency “never called me with anything.”
More than 1.5 million of North Carolina’s 9.5 million residents had a criminal record at the end of 2010, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. North Carolina saw a 30 percent increase in residents with criminal records between 2006 and 2008.
But from 2008 to 2010, the total fell by 1 percent as legislators increased the opportunities to erase old criminal records. Last year, lawmakers of both political parties agreed to broadly expand the opportunity for adults to erase, or expunge, first-time nonviolent misdemeanor crimes or low-level felony convictions.
Now, more than 150 lawyers statewide are volunteering their services to give people a second chance.
Full Story: NC expanding rules for erasing criminal records