by Sheila Burke, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee courts are going to make it easier for people who have been arrested but never convicted of a crime to have their criminal records wiped clean.
A bipartisan group of legislators, judges and criminal justice officials gathered Tuesday to announce a statewide court initiative in which judges will ask eligible people if they want their records expunged.
Many people don’t know they have that right or face barriers to clearing their names, like taking time off work and going back to a courthouse to fill out paperwork, supporters of the initiative say.
The records can hurt people when they try to find a job, get a loan, find housing or get a professional license. Some lawmakers and others say people who are not guilty of crimes shouldn’t have to face hurdles when it comes to getting their records cleared.
“They’ve been found innocent, but they still have an arrest record haunting them,” said Rep. Harold Love, a Democrat from Nashville.