Expungement Clinic to help Linn Co ex-felons find jobs

Erika Olson says serving time after a DUI arrest nearly a decade ago continues to make it difficult finding a good job or housing.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) – Iowa’s unemployment rate may be near a record low, but Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker says that’s only if you’ve never spent time in prison. He says hundreds of corridor residents who made mistakes and paid for their crimes are still paying. On September 22nd supervisors are holding an expungement event at the Linn County Community Services Center. Attorneys with Iowa Legal Aid will help some of them to erase those criminal details from their records and improve their chances of finding work, “ For most of the ex-felons when they re-enter society, when they have to check that box that shows they have a criminal record, a lot of times that application goes straight out the window. “

Erika Olson says that’s her job hunting experience. She says she has been sober for nearly ten years after a third-time DUI felony sent her to prison for one year. Olson says since then it’s been a nightmare trying to find work and housing. She says her applications for factory, assembly and warehouse jobs have been rejected one after another, “ I have a college degree, but that doesn’t mean anything. As soon as everybody, the employer, finds out there is a felony on my record, then I’m just pushed aside.”

Walker says obviously not all criminal records can be expunged, because of the severity of the offenses, but many can. He says that could make all the difference in helping an ex-felon find a good job and prevent them from returning to crime. Olson says she’s simply asking for a second chance and is willing to work hard to rebuild her life. Nearly 100 people have signed up to attend the event. It's free, but Walker says people must register by contacting the Linn County Supervisor's Office. For more information click here.

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