Having a mark on your criminal record can be an insurmountable barrier to getting a job or securing a safe place to live. Thus, a criminal record can be both a consequence and cause of poverty. To help, MVLS assists with record expungement, MVA expungement, shielding, and vacatur.
As part of this effort, we additionally target two specific groups who are frequently negatively impacted by having a criminal record – workforce development trainees and human trafficking survivors.
Through our Workforce Development Project, MVLS partners with workforce sites where we do holistic screenings for legal barriers that will harm a trainee’s ability to secure sustainable employment. While legal services often begin with expungements, this comprehensive approach also addresses other destabilizing factors including identification issues, consumer and tax matters, housing problems, and family issues. Our success in this area led to us being selected to deliver legal services to over 300 citizens serving in the Baltimore Health Corps during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Similarly, our Human Trafficking Prevention Project, in partnership with the University of Baltimore School of Law, supports survivors and those at the highest risk of being trafficked with holistic legal support that starts with criminal record expungement or vacatur (where survivors fight to vacate convictions for actions they were prosecuted for while being trafficked) and expands to address other legal issues like identity theft, collections, unsafe housing, or the loss of their children.
In addition to the provision of legal services, MVLS’ workforce development and human trafficking prevention staff:
- Conduct extensive community outreach
- Facilitate community-based intake
- Partner with case managers and other direct service staff
- Host educational presentations
- Distribute educational materials, and
- Work with local and state lawmakers to improve criminal relief options in the legislature.