Caddo residents wanting to expunge their criminal records can get a financial boost to start the new decade. The Caddo Parish Commission has approved a measure aimed at helping Caddo Parish residents expunge their criminal records. Ordinance 5943 of 2020 will reduce the $550 fees associated with expunging a person record will be reduced by 60 percent.
Expungements allow individuals the opportunity to have a court remove or seal records of arrests and/or convictions. In years past, the Caddo Commission and Clerk of Court host a summit to make information available to residents seeking expungements. However, very few individuals are able to follow up due to the high expungement cost and additional attorney fees. Through this pilot initiative Legal Aid of Northwest Louisiana will in-kind legal services to eligible individuals.
“The Commission believes it is necessary to waive the Parish portion of these fees. Caddo residents with a conviction on their record often become trapped in a cycle of poverty,” said Commissioner Steven Jackson. “The conviction becomes an identity that isolates them from employment, housing, and education opportunities. That, in turn, affects their overall quality of life which affects their children, tipping them into the cycle of generational poverty.”
Funds for this initiative will come from video poker revenue and not the Parish’s general fund. To be eligible for a waiver residents must participate in 15 hours of community service from an approved community based organization/program, must meet income requirements, and verify they are a resident of Caddo Parish. Funds will not be provided to individuals but will go to the Parish agencies (Caddo Clerk of Court, Caddo District Attorney, and Caddo Parish Sheriffs) to offset their cost of granting the waivers.