SPOKANE, Wash. – In Spokane County, more than 3,000 juvenile arrests occur each year. While many states automatically seal records when an offender turns 18 years old, Washington does not. For adults with a juvenile criminal record, this means that employment, housing, and higher education can all be more difficult to access.
Last year, Gonzaga University School of Law students held four free public clinics to help community members seal their open records. Given the success of these clinics, two more are scheduled this year on Feb. 1 and March 22, from 10 a.m.-noon, at Gonzaga Law School (721 N. Cincinnati St.). Appointments are recommended but not required.
“These clinics help community members that have otherwise completed their association with the juvenile justice system get a fresh start on paper as well as in life,” explained Jon Jackson, co-organizer of the clinics and a Thomas More Scholar at Gonzaga Law. “Sealed juvenile records will not appear in criminal history checks, and last year we saw the deep impact this work can have on someone’s day-to-day life. By adding more clinics, the students and attorney volunteers are able to extend that opportunity to even more people.”
To qualify for juvenile recording sealing, individuals must meet three criteria:
• At least two years since last released from confinement for a juvenile misdemeanor, class C or B felony, or completed a diversion or deferred disposition; or at least five years since last released from confinement for a class A felony.
• Crime-free since your last conviction.
• Do not owe any court-ordered fines or fees.
Those with a history of serious crimes or criminal history in other states may not necessarily be eligible for juvenile record-sealing.
For more information, please contact the Juvenile Record Sealing Clinic at (509) 496-9491 or via email.