570 criminal records expunged so far this year — Justice Ministry

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Since the start of the year, a total of 570 criminal records have been expunged, 245 of which were done during the April to June 2017 period, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry said the expungement process, done under the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1988, has seen a steady flow of applications from persons looking to have their criminal records cleared..

The process is also said to help individuals, who committed minor offences and have sincerely and successfully attempted to abide by the law, to reintegrate into society.

The ministry said that having convictions removed from one's records can increase that individual's earning capacity, as employment in certain industries such as education, tourism, security and transportation, require a copy of a clean police record for their employees.

It noted that the process is also beneficial for persons interested in migrating or working overseas.

Under the Criminal Records Act, certain minor offences such as simple larceny, malicious destruction of property, possession or dealing in ganja, bribery and forging of documents, among others can be cleared from a person's record after a specified period of rehabilitation.

An amendment to the Act in 2014 reduced the rehabilitation period from between five and 20 years, from the date of the termination of imprisonment or the payment of a fine, to between three and 10 years based on the seriousness of the offence and the sentence imposed.

For individuals under the age of 18 years old, the rehabilitation period is half the time applicable to adults.

Clearing past convictions from people who are committed to being law-abiding citizens will assist them in their efforts to improve their quality of life and help build a justice system that focuses on rehabilitation, the ministry said.

It further explained that to have a record expunged, interested persons must make an application in writing. This can be done by visiting the customer service section of the ministry to collect the application form or by downloading the application form from the Ministry of Justice's website.

The applicant should complete two copies of the application form and submit them along with two letters of recommendation, fingerprint impressions and the payment of $3,000 for the expungement service (this can also be done at any tax office island wide) to the Customer Service desk at the ministry.

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