Checkr, Inc., the leading technology company in the background check industry, announced it has launched an end-to-end solution for job candidates to complete expungements and clear their criminal records. This solution, the first of its kind in the industry, removes the complexities and high legal fees typically associated with expungements and unlocks barriers to meaningful employment. This Checkr service will automate the manual process of petitioning a local courthouse to clear someone’s criminal record under local judicial procedures.
Checkr is donating $100,000 to provide qualified candidates expungements for free. In addition, Checkr has set the goal of clearing 1,000 candidates’ records free of charge. For other job seekers, this solution reduces legal fees from $1,500 to as low as $350 depending on the case. This furthers Checkr’s fair chance mission and goal of unblocking three million candidates in 2021 who have a criminal record.
“At Checkr, we believe a criminal sentence should not be a life sentence to unemployment. Our expungement solution will help people to expand their opportunities,” Checkr Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yanisse said. “Our easy-to-use solution and the free expungements will allow tens of thousands of candidates to clear their records. We hope to grow the service even further in the coming years and encourage our customers and partners to join us to sponsor more free expungements.”
Today, as many as one in three Americans have a criminal record. That’s one-third of working-age Americans, or nearly 77 million people, who experience the stigma of having a record and face restrictions in employment, licensing, housing, and even volunteer opportunities. These lasting effects are damaging. Finding work is an essential part of ending the cycle of recidivism and helps to rebuild communities.
Many states recognize the increased need for employment opportunities for people with records and have passed legislation that allows for certain offenses to be expunged, or removed from public records. However, the lack of awareness, cost, and complex legal process for getting an expungement prevent most from pursuing it. Of those legally eligible, less than 10 percent obtain the expungement within five years of eligibility. It’s estimated that tens of millions of Americans fall into the second chance gap, the difference between eligibility and expungement, according to a 2020 study from the Santa Clara University School of Law in which Checkr participated.
Checkr has partnered with Lawyaw, a company that offers automated legal document workflow solutions, and Avenues Legal LLP, a law firm focused on access to justice, to streamline and reduce the price per expungement from an average of $1,500 down to $350–$500 depending on the charge, which goes entirely to covering the state’s petition filing fee and Avenues Legal’s services. Checkr is also collaborating with the Paper Prisons Initiative of Santa Clara University to measure the impact of expungements.