Expungement clinic offers second chance for hundreds of residents

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Plenty of people could use a fresh start, and that's especially true for those who have a criminal record.

A Memphis judge is teaming up with a church to help give those people a second chance at life.

The event at Bloomfield Baptist Church is about giving people in the community a second chance to find employment and provide for their families.

General Sessions Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan greeted a packed house at Bloomfield Baptist. More than 250 people showed up to an expungement clinic looking for a fresh start.

During the clinic, volunteer attorneys and paralegals met with participants to discuss expungements qualifications.

Other organizations were onsite providing job and voting registration information.

"This is good because I have family members, a brother, a cousin, they have felonies or misdemeanors that need expungement, and they can't vote, and if we vote, then we can change the laws," said volunteer Delvecchio Christian.

"People are desperately wanting to get their records straight, wanting to do what's right," said Bloomfield Baptist Church Pastor Ralph White.

General Sessions Court Clerk Edward Stanton teamed up with Pastor White and Stop the Killing organizer Stevie Moore.

As a felon, Moore said he understands the challenges firsthand.

"I got about, I forgot the count, some 18 felonies, and I know I got my citizenship restored in 1991," Moore said. "It's two thing a man needs if he gets out and jail and stays out of jail: He needs a job and somewhere to stay."

Moore said without those two resources, the cycle of crime continues.

"You are just sending him right back to jail because he has no other avenue," Moore said.

Pastor White hopes this is one of many informational clinics to support change in Memphis.

"That's one of the things that we're going to be doing is pulling other churches in so that we can do this throughout the city," Pastor White said.

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