Know what’s on your RAP sheet and correct errors. The Community Service Society (CSS) estimates that nearly 30 percent of official New York State criminal records contain at least one error. Fixing these errors—and fully understanding what is on the corrected criminal record (and in the general media)—can help open doors to employment, housing, and stability that had previously been closed.
The Next Door Project has trained volunteers to help people clean up their RAP sheets and apply for Certificates of Good Conduct or Certificates of Relief from Disabilities. You can access this free assistance by attending one of their monthly “intake” sessions held at their offices on 633 Third Ave, 10th Floor in New York City. Linked here is the 2016 schedule of workshops. You must call 212.614.5441 to make an appointment to attend, or call if you have any other questions. Leave a message with contact information and they will return your call.
If you want to get started understanding your New York State RAP sheet the Legal Action Center offers a very readable guide to getting, understanding and correcting your criminal record as well as a guide about Certificates of Relief/Good Conduct & Record Sealing. Finally, The Papillon Foundation is a non-profit corporation that provides resources for the expungement and sealing of criminal records throughout the United States. Here is the link for New York State specific criminal record resources. See also this page (which includes this nifty flow chart) on how to correct criminal records.
***What is New York’s new sealing law that went into effect in October 2017? *** The new sealing law allows people who have been convicted in no more than two cases (only one of which can be a felony case) to apply to seal certain conviction(s) from New York. Only certain convictions are eligible for sealing, and there are other requirements as well. Visit this page at the Legal Action Center for more information. Here’s a flow chart from the Legal Aid Society of Westchester that can help you determine if this applies to you.
You may want to know (and correct) information that is available describing your conviction and incarceration in the media. Press coverage can be searched online through web search engines and databases of local and national newspapers. Go to the library to access the databases.
Use the resources below to request state and federal documents and correct misinformation that may exist on your record.