Free Clinic To Help Seal Your Juvenile Records - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Free Clinic To Help Seal Your Juvenile Records

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A criminal record can make it hard for some people to land a good job or even find a place to live, but there may be a solution. A criminal record can make it hard for some people to land a good job or even find a place to live, but there may be a solution.

NBCRightNow.com - A criminal record can make it hard for some people to land a good job or even find a place to live, but there may be a solution.

No one can really get their slate wiped entirely clean, but if you committed the crime when you were younger you might be able to get your record sealed.

"In Washington State if you were 16 and you got caught with something and you have a criminal charge on your record, that is considered a crime until you get it sealed," explained Angelissa Savino a local lawyer who is helping to create a free record-sealing clinic.

Washington is one of the few states that does not automatically seal juvenile records. It is a process that became possible decades ago. While many state lawmakers believed records should be out in the open, those records can also hold people back from moving forward with their lives.

"Washington state legislature realized that we don't want some one who is 35 being held back from what they did when they were 14 or 15," said Savino.

Roadblocks often pop up for people with criminal pasts when they try to do things like apply for jobs or rent an apartment.

"Everyone should have the opportunity of a second chance in life, but generally anything that's happened in the last 7 years pretty much tells the story as to whether or not they're able to get an apartment," said Jackie Harvey who rents out apartments as property manager at Clearwater Square Apartments in Kennewick.

Property management companies usually have criteria laid out like how long ago the crime was committed or how severe the crimes were. Many places like Clearwater Square still try to find them a place to live.

"I try to refer them to mom and pop companies so therefore they can make their own rental criteria," said Harvey.

In Washington State lawmakers have yet to pass any laws that would automatically seal juvenile records and until they do, it is up to the individuals to do something about it..

"There's a push and laws are slowly being changed in Olympia, but right now they just haven't been changed all the way," said Savino.

Getting records sealed can be confusing and even expensive. To help, there will be a free clinic at Northwest Justice Project in Pasco on December 16th.  It's open to anyone looking to seal records from when they were a juvenile. To make an appointment just call (509)521-1804 or email sealingclinic@gmail.com

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