Letter: In Second Chance Month and every month, legal assistance is available (Berkshire Eagle)

Below is an excerpt from a letter to the editor published by the Berkshire Eagle on April 27 about resources, misconceptions, and more involving those returning from incarceration. Community Legal Aid’s Staff Attorney, Annie Maurer, penned the letter.

To the editor: April is Second Chance Month, a time to focus on how our community can support our fellow Berkshire County residents returning from incarceration.

As an attorney with Community Legal Aid’s CORI/reentry unit, I see the life-changing power that sealing a criminal record has every day. Sealing is the process by which a criminal record is removed from public access, including access by employers and housing providers. Sealed records remain available to law enforcement, the courts and a few other select agencies.

I routinely assist people denied employment due to a criminal record that could have already been sealed. These are individuals with reliance, grit and valuable life experience who seek our assistance because, despite the hard work they’ve put into bettering their lives and those of their families, potential employers cannot see past the record.

Read more at the Berkshire Eagle.