Investigative Report: Errors on Rap Sheets Are All Too Common, and Difficult to Correct

Judith Whiting

A series of reports released this week spotlights the problem of mistakes on official criminal history rap sheets, and the lengths that individuals and their advocates must go to in order to correct them. From the series:

“They are mistakes that come with major consequences, frustrating the best efforts of people trying to turn their lives around, leading to rejections by schools, employers, lenders and landlords. And legal records are littered with them. By one estimate, an astonishing 2.1 million New York state residents have mistakes on their criminal justice histories, errors that must be painstakingly corrected one by one, in a complicated, time-consuming and sometimes fruitless effort.”  (Read more)

Produced by City Limits and the CUNY Investigative Team, the reports highlight the work of CSS’s Next Door Project and other organizations in New York City as they go about the daunting task of correcting rap sheet errors that can cost jobs, licenses, and housing.

The Next Door Project (NDP) provides one-on-one assistance to help individuals with criminal conviction histories correct rap sheet errors.  NDP staff, augmented by a group of dedicated and highly-trained older adult volunteers, can order rap sheets, review them for errors, and work with individuals to make a plan to correct any errors found.  NDP also helps individuals apply for Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct, and to collate evidence of rehabilitation that will assist in the job search. NDP conducts intake on a monthly basis.  To schedule an intake appointment, call our hotline at (212) 614 -5441.

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