Young people from Illinois with arrest and court records have an unlikely new resource available to them. The Mikva Challenge Foundation recently released an app that provides young people with information about what juvenile expungement is (the process that erases an arrest and/or court record), what’s on a juvenile record, and how expungement can help. The app then guides youths through the process of determining whether they are eligible for expungement and connects them with lawyers or a legal team that can help them navigate the expungement process successfully.
The app is, in part, a response to a report published last summer by the Mikva Challenge Foundation's Juvenile Justice Council, which found that in 2012, only 70 of the 25,000 young people who were arrested in Chicago got their records expunged. That’s less than one half of one percent: a miniscule .28%. Those who did seek to have their records expunged, however, were successful, which indicates that the low numbers are due not to the process but to a lack of awareness about this option.
The app also includes information related to the cost of expungement ($124 to expunge a single record, although in many cases this charge can be waived), the length of time an expungement takes (approximately three and a half months), and where young people can find their RAP (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions) sheets.