LINDEN, NJ – An informational seminar about how to expunge criminal records was announced at a press conference attended by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau, and other community leaders at the Linden and Roselle Community Center, on Tuesday afternoon.   

The senator discussed several pieces of legislation he is working on to help give a “second chance” to those stuck and cannot get jobs because of their prior criminal record, and to also ask the communities to come together to help support these individuals with special programs such as the seminar, “Help, Healing, and Hope,” that will be held at the Community Center, located at 1238 E. St. Georges Avenue in Linden this coming Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is hosted by Morning Star Community Christian Center and will provide the community with information on what types of records can be expunged; the expungement process; and pro bono free legal services. There are certain offenses that will not qualify for expungement, therefore various community based organizations will be on hand to assist in other ways as they work together to help individuals get back on their feet.  

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Pro bono attorneys will be present to answer questions and provide information on the guidelines, the process and various legal aspects regarding the new bill sponsored by New Jersey Assemblyman Jerry Green.  Attendees are encouraged to bring pertinent documents if they have inquiries about their personal circumstances.  The seminar will also include dialog with law enforcement -- learning what to do and say when stopped by a police officer.

Additionally, the event will provide information on driver’s license restoration, child support legal assistance, how to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation and the opportunity for residents of the community to have an open dialog with law enforcement officers.  

Stakeholders include New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak, Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau and chiefs of police from Linden/Roselle, faith leaders, legal services of New Jersey, volunteer Lawyers for Justice, National Bar Association, Urban League of Union County (Reconnections), BLESSED Ministries, Inc., Linden/Roselle First Workforce Employment Center, and City of Elizabeth Reentry Program. 

“Empowering people with criminal histories to obtain employment isn’t just a question of fairness in employment,” says Senator Lesniak. “It’s about working to meaningfully reintegrate a disenfranchised population back into our society.  Erecting insurmountable barriers against people trying to re-enter the workforce is bad policy.” 

It’s time for action, says Dr. Therman Evans, Senior Pastor of Morning Star Community Christian Center, one of the co-sponsors for this event.  “This day long event is all about second chances and will provide the opportunity for individuals to fulfill their personal potential and live a productive life.”

Below is the Press Conference in its entirety.