It is probably quite obvious to most people in Arkansas that a criminal record may hinder a person’s chances of getting a job. When employers perform a background check, they are looking to see whether there may be any risks in hiring someone based off of any mistakes they may have made in the past. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t even matter if someone has been charged, if he or she has been arrested there could be problems with passing background checks, too.

This is why the Clean Slate project was created. Though this is a program out of San Francisco, it has shown considerable success in the past 15 years and could potentially be replicated in Arkansas. The individuals who have been helped by the program have been able to move forward with their lives after making a few serious mistakes.

In the past 15 years, the program has expunged more than 20,000 arrest and criminal records. A majority of the people who participate in the program need a clean record for a job, to find housing or to naturalize as citizens. Even arrests or convictions from 20 or 30 years ago could have a negative effect on housing or employment, which is why this program has been so popular.

The individuals who are helped have already served their time; it is not a way to get out of punishment. Instead, the program recognizes that some people make mistakes and, after they have repented for them, they should be able to move on with their lives.

If it weren’t for programs like this, it is possible that some people would fall back into lives of crime.

Source: San Francisco Examiner, “Reformed offenders earn fresh starts,” Mike Aldax, Sept. 29, 2013