Expungement Expo Gives Tulsans Clean Slate
TULSA, Oklahoma - A new Tulsa Program is giving people who have had a run-in with the law the chance to wipe the slate clean.
This helps people whose cases were dismissed if they were not indicted, or even those found not guilty.
Supporters said an arrest alone is enough to tank futures.
Richard Bond now stands on the right side of the judicial system.
But for several years, he found himself locked out of several opportunities.
"I had an arrest on my record from 15 to 17 years ago that's been holding me back from employment," Bond said.
He said he had a criminal record following him even though his charges were dismissed by a grand jury.
"There's probably more people out there with these little glitches in the system, these catch 22's than you would ever imagine, and it's needed for the betterment of all of our communities," Bond said.
Bond's record was expunged with the help of Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper's first Expungement Expo.
The expo had more than 1000 people in attendance.
"I think it's a win-win. It's a win for the individual and it’s a win for society because you're making better productive taxpaying citizens," said Hall Harper.
Oklahoma City Representative Jason Lowe agrees.
"An expungement gives you an opportunity to get a clean slate, to be able to get the dream job you deserve, to be able to support your family," Lowe said.
Lowe said under the state law, in order to get your record expunged it has to be a nonviolent offense.
“The misconception that violent criminals or folks that are committing violent felonies are eligible for expungement are false," Lowe said.
The future Bond couldn't see because of his criminal record is now bright.
"I've got a lot of hope now. This is just a weight off my shoulders," Bond said.
Representative Lowe and Councilor Hall-Harper said they hope to bring this event to Oklahoma City.
They said they will plan another expo like this one soon.