The New York Times: Criminal Convictions Behind Them, Few Have Had Their Records Sealed

Wesley Caines, The Bronx Defenders’ re-entry and community outreach coordinator, spoke with the New York Times about the challenges in making sure people know about, and take advantage, of the new sealing law.

A recent law in New York, which went into effect in October, allows people who have been convicted over 10 years ago with two or fewer misdemeanor convictions (or one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction), and no violent felonies and sex offenses, to have their records sealed so it cannot be found in a search of public records.

For many, a criminal record prevents access to stable jobs and improved opportunities, making it difficult for people to transition back into their communities.

“We are operating in the dark,” Caines said. “In the Bronx, there are some communities that have candidates for sealing, but we don’t know who they are or how many.”

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