LAURINBURG — Scotland County residents wishing to clear criminal records will have a chance next month to learn how that process works.
A free expunction clinic will be held on June 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.
The clinic will give those convicted of a crime the opportunity to meet with attorneys to determine eligibility for an expungement of their records, according to Christopher Mitchell, chairman, Southeastern Regional Reentry Council, which serves Scotland, Hoke and Robeson counties.
The clinic is free and open to everyone convicted of a crime in Scotland County.
Scotland County Public Defender Jonathan McInnis and his staff and area attorneys will provide the legal help.
All court fees associated with filing legal documents will be waived if filed through the clinic, officials said.
Participants will be seen on a first-come-first-serve basis. The event will be held at the Scotland County Courthouse, Courtroom 1, at 212 Biggs St.
The clinics are part of the ongoing work by local reentry councils across the state, according to Mitchell, who also serves as chairman of the Scotland County Reentry Council.
More than 20,000 people are released from North Carolina prisons each year and face challenges in finding jobs, health care and housing to name a few.
“We believe that helping people with criminal records become productive members of society benefits their families and our communities in many ways, including improving public safety, as well as preventing or reducing crime,” Mitchell said. “Everyone deserves a second chance and the Scotland County Reentry Council is here to help. Individuals who have been arrested and or formerly incarcerated wanting to have their records expunged should take advantage of this second chance opportunity.”
Gov. Roy Cooper recently proclaimed the week of April 23-27 as Re-Entry Week in the state.
“The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has developed the North Carolina Reentry Action Plan to facilitate a better transition for people from incarceration or community supervision back into society by coordinating existing resources, identifying resource gaps and advocating on behalf of individuals with criminal records,” Cooper said in a statement.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3032