By Julianna Nunez
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
CHICAGO — The Mikva Challenge Foundation released a (web) app aiming to encourage more juveniles to seek assistance expunging their arrest and court records.
In 2012, only 70 of the 25,000 youths who were arrested in Chicago got their records expunged, according to a report by the Juvenile Justice Council issued last summer. Those who sought to have their records expunged were successful.
The report noted common obstacles to expungement that juveniles face and ways to improve them, recommending the creation of a workshop for juveniles on how to clear their records. A free mobile app was the result.
Christopher Rudd, director of the Juvenile Justice Council, said the app allows users to connect to lawyers or a legal team that would guide them through the expungement process.
The main purpose of the app is to give those seeking expungement of their juvenile records more accessibility to the legal resources. The app itself contains information on where kids can find their RAP sheets, along with the cost of expungement and the length of time the process takes.
The expungement process takes approximately three and a half months and it costs $124 to expunge a single record. Although this process could be expensive for many, the fees could be waived, Rudd said.
Other Juvenile Justice Council recommendations are in development. These include a plan to turn foreclosed homes into safe housing for young people fresh out of prison and a welcoming circle program that will connect incarcerated juveniles with community groups via Skype to form positive adult relationships.
This story produced by The Chicago Bureau