Our criminal justice system can make communities safer by helping keep people employed and in the workforce. Wrongful arrests should not remain on peoples’ records forever.
Houston, TX (PRWEB) December 15, 2015
It is not often that District Attorneys agree to destroy the records of those individuals arrested and charged with crimes, but when the arrest is illegal and the case results in dismissal, that’s exactly what Kim Ogg, candidate for DA in Houston, Texas is proposing.
“Once it’s been determined that a person shouldn’t have been arrested, a DA can help that individual stay or return to the workforce by helping clean up his criminal record,” said Kim Ogg, candidate for Harris County DA in 2016. “That’s exactly what the current District Attorney’s administration should do, but it’s not being done here in Houston.”
To help people return to the workforce, Ogg isn’t waiting to be elected. As a candidate for District Attorney, she has started a pro bono legal program entitled “Clean Up Your Record Day”, which served 42 low-income women last Saturday, December 4, 2015 at the Santa Maria Hostel, a non-profit housing complex in the Spring Branch area servicing homeless women. Residents’ criminal records were reviewed by her and six other volunteer attorneys to determine whether their past criminal cases that had been dismissed could be “expunged” meaning removed from the records of every law enforcement agency involved in that person’s criminal case. Those with eligible cases are being referred to one of three local law schools who have partnered with Ogg and her team of volunteer attorneys, many of whom are fellow candidates running for judgeships in Harris County.
These attorney candidates vying for elected criminal justice positions have agreed to take a stand against the needless harm caused to ordinary people when the ‘system’ gets it wrong and arrests and charges the wrong person for a crime they didn’t commit. Ogg and the other volunteers are committed to fixing the damage on the front end by helping reintegrate those individuals into the workforce through free criminal history ‘clean up.’ Removal of arrest records from law enforcement agencies, criminal clerk’s offices and private data agencies assists people in clearing employment-related criminal background checks. Kim Ogg says, “That’s going to go a long way in qualifying them for jobs and giving employers confidence in keeping them on the job following a criminal accusation.”
Ogg’s platform for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office includes prioritization of violent and property crime victims over minor drug offenders, defense of civil rights, and a public commitment to ethical behavior by prosecutors. She believes that crime victims as well as those who have been wrongfully treated by the justice system should be made whole as quickly and efficiently as possible. Ogg suggests the Clean Up Your Record Program is an effective way to begin that change now. Now, more Clean Up Your Record programs are being scheduled for January 2016.
Ogg believes Americans are fed up with political rhetoric. She states, “As candidates, this is our way of showing the community we are going to treat everyone in the justice system fairly by helping them today. Tomorrow, we’ll ask for their vote.”
About Kim Ogg:
Kim Ogg is a candidate for Harris County DA in 2016; she is board-certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a veteran crime victims’ advocate with a history as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. She is the former Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston and was the City’s first Anti-Gang Task Force Director.