This week, a feature in The Atlantic explored the world of the juvenile justice system and the long-term impact it has on children’s lives after an arrest. After a person turns 18, their juvenile arrest record is supposed to be sealed, and they should be able to start life as an adult with a clean slate. But — especially in the age of the internet — those sealed records have a way of sticking around and continuing to disrupt the lives of people struggling to get by after a youthful mistake.
In the feature, LAF’s Dennericka Brooks explains some of those ongoing consequences, like a family being kicked out of their apartment because a child has an arrest record:
‘“[It’s] not entirely clear how they get the records,” said Dennericka Brooks, a senior attorney at Chicago’s Legal Assistance Foundation. “But they do.” […] The catalyst for an eviction may be small — Brooks cited cases based on trespass by teenagers or an argument between mother and daughter — but the effects can create lifelong reverberations. Families lose their vouchers for publicly assisted housing and often disperse across the city or county; parents and children become separated, dependent on the largesse of friends with an open couch or a guest bed. And parents who try to settle with housing authorities outside of trial are generally told that the rest of the family can remain in the apartment only if the accused juvenile is kicked out.
LAF works on the front lines to help young people with a juvenile record in Cook County to permanently seal or completely erase their juvenile records, through our Juvenile Expungement Help Desk and Expungement Project. Read the whole Atlantic feature here, and check out LAF’s Expunge.io app here.