MONACA, Pa. (KDKA) – When Governor Tom Wolf signed into law The Clean Slate, it meant thousands of people in the state with criminal records could get their lives back on track.
They could get a better job with better housing, but a year after the law went into effect, many still don’t know how to navigate through the process.
That’s where Turning Point, a resource fair at the Community College of Beaver County, comes into play.
The scene Monday was a packed room at the Library Resource Center on the campus of Beaver County Community College.
Most have a criminal record and a story to tell, like Erica Knox.
“I have a paraphernalia (charge) and a simple possession on my record, and I ended up getting a retail also. You cannot have a retail on your record and expect to get a good job,” she told KDKA’s Brenda Waters.
Jacob Hines lives in a halfway house in Beaver Falls.
“I have some deep charges, credit card fraud, couple of simple assaults, bar fights and stuff.”
It was the Beaver County re-entry forum and resource fair organized by Rico Elmore.
“I wanted to create this program so they can have an out, a goal the means to accomplish that goal,” Elmore said.
There were speakers from the county and the state and sessions on employment and training opportunities.
Right on point for Alicia Harris, who told Brenda Waters she is a co-defendant in an active case involving a drug bust.
“I lost my job, can’t find a good job field I was working it, so essentially I am trying to get my life back on track,” Harris said.
The Beaver County DA David Lozier applauds the program.
“I want to make sure that once someone has served their time, either on probation or in jail, that they can get back with their lives,” he said.
“That means employment. It’s better for them or their families. This program allows us to help them expand their records or clean slate their records, maybe even ask for a pardon from the governor.”
Under the Clean Slate Law, those eligible include people who have been found not guilty in court or those who committed nonviolent crimes more than 10 years ago.
Those who have been found guilty of serious crimes such as violence, sexual assault, homicide and child endangerment are not eligible.