Has a criminal record ever kept you from getting a job? Do you wonder if your record can be cleared?
You may get the answers to your questions at the expungement workshop on Thursday, hosted by the Lower Savannah Council of Governments.
The workshop will be held in the amphitheater at Aiken Technical College and will be divided into two sessions. The first session will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and the second will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Each session will be a panel discussion, with panelists coming from the Second Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the state Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the state Department of Employment and Workforce.
It will be moderated by former Second Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan.
“It provides guidance and information on how to clear up a criminal record, if it’s possible to do so,” said Benella Floyd, assistant administrator for workforce development for the Council of Governments. “Sometimes, it’s something as simple as going down to request it be taken off the record.”
Additionally, Floyd said, the cost to expunge a record is low, typically about $300.
Floyd said having Morgan facilitate the discussion will be helpful for people who may not know what questions to ask the panelists.
This will be the third such workshop the council has had in Aiken County.
“We were asked to do so by some of the local employers who often have to deny employment to what they consider very, very good potential workers because of something that is popping up from their past,” Floyd said.
In addition to getting a job, Floyd said having a criminal record will prevent some people from even getting into school curriculums. The problem is further compounded by the poor economic times.
The last two workshops have yielded crowds between 200 and 250 people, which Floyd said still seems low.
“I’m really surprised when I see such a low participation when there are so many people that suffer from the problems,” he said.
The workshop will also have discussions geared toward employers, Floyd said, who added that employers often aren’t aware of the benefits such as tax credits offered to businesses that hire former offenders.
For more information, call the Lower Savannah Council of Governments at 803-649-7981.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012.
He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.