The Rap-Sheet Trap: A Resource Guide

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Melissa, who asked that her real name not be used so she can move on from the rap-sheet errors she has fought to correct, waged her battle with help from the Center for NuLeadership in Brooklyn.

Erica Edwards

Melissa, who asked that her real name not be used so she can move on from the rap-sheet errors she has fought to correct, waged her battle with help from the Center for NuLeadership in Brooklyn.

These organizations offer help and advice to people fighting a bad rap sheet:

Legal Action Center: A nonprofit law and policy organization that assists and advocates for those facing discrimination including those seeking to fix mistakes on criminal records. LAC publishes several helpful pamphlets including “Criminal Records and Employment: Protecting Yourself From Discrimination” and “Your New York State Rap Sheet: A Guide to Getting, Understanding, and Correcting Your Criminal Record.”225 Varick St. New York, NY 10014. 212-243-1313

Community Service Society: 170-year-old nonprofit policy and advocacy organization with a special focus on helping people with criminal conviction histories overcome barriers to reentry. CSS’s “Next Door Project” provides individual assistance to persons seeking to obtain, understand and fix mistakes on New York State and FBI rap sheets. The Next Door Project also assists with applications for Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Good Conduct, and provides legal representation for individuals who have experienced criminal records-based employment, licensing or housing discrimination. 105 E. 22 St., NY NY 10010. 212-614-5441. info@cssny.org

Youth Represent: A youth defense and advocacy nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure that young people affected by the criminal justice system get every opportunity to reclaim their lives with dignity and self-fulfillment. YR provides comprehensive legal representation, community support, education and advocacy. 11 Park Place, Suite 1512, NY, NY 10007. 646-759-8080.

Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions: A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing research, advocacy and leadership training to formerly and currently incarcerated people, along with their families and communities. Among its efforts is “Project ReNu,” a civic restoration and workforce development initiative seeking to remove barriers for those with criminal convictions. Assistance is available as well for repair of rap sheets and obtaining Certificates of Rehabilitation. 510 Gates Ave. (between Marcy and Tompkins),1st floor. Brooklyn, NY 11216. 718-484-5879. info@centerfornuleadership.org

The Bronx Defenders: Nonprofit legal assistance organization providing holistic legal defense for indigent individuals and families in the Bronx, including those struggling to fix mistakes on their criminal record histories. 360 E. 161st St., Bronx, NY 10451. 718-838-7878. info@bronxdefenders.org

The Fortune Society Founded in 1967, the nonprofit social service and advocacy group promotes successful reentry from prison and alternatives to incarceration, and assists those seeking to repair errors on their criminal records. 29-76 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101. 212-691-7554.

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This story is part of a series by
a class on urban investigative reporting at
the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism
taught by Errol Louis and Tom Robbins,
who served as editors.
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