Calcasieu program helps nonviolent offenders expunge records - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Calcasieu program helps nonviolent offenders expunge records

(Source: RNN) (Source: RNN)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A Calcasieu Parish initiative is aiming to give nonviolent offenders a second chance by expunging convictions and arrests made within the parish at a low cost. 

It's called the "Fresh Start Initiative" and it's a collaborative effort between the DA's office, the Southwest Louisiana Law Center and other organizations. 

"If an individual is attempting to obtain an expungement on their own, privately, it may cost as much as $2,600," said Mark Judson, executive director of the Southwest Louisiana Law Center. 

Judson said the application fee is $26, and in total an expungement could cost an individual around $400 by going through the process. 

The program was started in 2016 and in its first year was able to get 46 cases expunged. One of those cases was J.D.'s, a Lake Charles business owner who wished to remain anonymous.

He said the skeletons in his closet weren't a burden on his earnings, but he said, "It's embarrassing. For me, it was more of an embarrassment."

J.D. simply wanted a fresh start.

"I had a record and it was from some indiscretion of when I was much younger and foolish," he said. 

Thanks to the program, that process is already in the works for Jessica Racca, a mother of two, who said her record was holding her back. 

"I couldn't get a job anywhere," she said. "When you have something on your background they really penalize you - you can't get good jobs."

Racca advises those thinking about starting anew to take a chance and apply. 

"A lot of people give up their lives after they get in trouble, but I didn't," she said. "There's no way."

Racca is in the process of graduating with her bachelor's degree in business administration.

This year, the "Fresh Start Initiative" will take in more than 500 applications.

To learn if you qualify or to fill out an application, click HERE

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: A few showers possible during the eclipse; Scattered storms likely all week

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: A few showers possible during the eclipse; Scattered storms likely all week

    Sunday, August 20 2017 4:53 PM EDT2017-08-20 20:53:00 GMT
    A few showers possible Monday for the eclipseA few showers possible Monday for the eclipse

    Overnight, we will have clouds clear and will become mostly clear. Temperatures will slowly fall to the mid 70s. It will feel very warm due to the humidity. Heat indices will be in the 80s, throughout the night. Monday, the day of the eclipse, there is just a 30% chance of rain, so we will most likely have a few clouds during the time of the eclipse. There could be a few showers around the peak of the eclipse, but more likely, at least some clouds. 

    More >>

    Overnight, we will have clouds clear and will become mostly clear. Temperatures will slowly fall to the mid 70s. It will feel very warm due to the humidity. Heat indices will be in the 80s, throughout the night. Monday, the day of the eclipse, there is just a 30% chance of rain, so we will most likely have a few clouds during the time of the eclipse. There could be a few showers around the peak of the eclipse, but more likely, at least some clouds. 

    More >>
  • TRAFFIC ALERT: Traffic light repair at Nelson Road/Prien Lake Road intersection

    TRAFFIC ALERT: Traffic light repair at Nelson Road/Prien Lake Road intersection

    Sunday, August 20 2017 3:46 PM EDT2017-08-20 19:46:40 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    As of 2:35 p.m. Sunday, the Lake Charles Police Department is advising drivers to avoid the area of the Nelson Road/Prien Lake Road intersection for the next 1.5 hours due to the DOTD working on non-functioning traffic lights. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    As of 2:35 p.m. Sunday, the Lake Charles Police Department is advising drivers to avoid the area of the Nelson Road/Prien Lake Road intersection for the next 1.5 hours due to the DOTD working on non-functioning traffic lights. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • Eljay Foundation for Parkinson's Awareness annual conference held Saturday

    Eljay Foundation for Parkinson's Awareness annual conference held Saturday

    Sunday, August 20 2017 2:27 PM EDT2017-08-20 18:27:23 GMT
    Eljay Foundation for Parkinson's Awareness annual conference (Source: KPLC)Eljay Foundation for Parkinson's Awareness annual conference (Source: KPLC)

    Over a dozen people spent time at the Civic Center this weekend to learn more about combating Parkinson's disease. The Eljay Foundation for Parkinson's Awareness hosted its annual conference Saturday. Different organizations dedicated to those with Parkinson's came out to support the conference. A number of speakers also spoke with attendees.

    More >>

    Over a dozen people spent time at the Civic Center this weekend to learn more about combating Parkinson's disease. The Eljay Foundation for Parkinson's Awareness hosted its annual conference Saturday. Different organizations dedicated to those with Parkinson's came out to support the conference. A number of speakers also spoke with attendees.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly