Operation Rio Grande
BCI Supports Salt Lake County’s Expungement Day
On June 26th, the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office partnered with the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) and over 60 volunteer attorneys from the Utah State Bar to host a second Expungement Day event. This event was the first in a two-step process to help qualifying individuals legally clear their criminal records.
During Wednesday’s event, volunteers helped dozens of eligible individuals in Salt Lake County for free, thanks to a grant from the Utah Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, DPS Commissioner Jess L. Anderson, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gil and Utah State Bar representatives spoke at a press conference about the Expungement Day event.
“A criminal record creates many barriers for individuals, including an inability to access housing, employment and educational opportunities. The road to self-reliance and independence is often blocked by past crimes that show up in routine background and credit checks. As a county, we need to help individuals move past the stain of a criminal record,” said Mayor Jenny Wilson.
Data from the DPS shows approximately one in four people in our state have a criminal record. DPS Commissioner Anderson shared the fact that BCI has over 700,000 subscriptions for people to be checked in an eight-state regionally on the Rapback system. During the last year (May 2018 – May 2019) BCI accepted 5,040 applications for expungement and determined there were 7,009 criminal and traffic charges eligible for expungement for applicants.
Commissioner Anderson mentioned how the Expungement Day events have been helpful with the Phase Three of Operation Rio Grande, as they have assisted people experiencing homelessness to find jobs and housing. “We are grateful to be part of this effort,” said Commissioner Anderson. “This effort is having a huge impact and will continue to help individuals find self reliance and continue on their own path to be successful.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gil noted that the event was a collaborative effort with multiple partners working toward achieving the objective of helping to remove institutional barriers to individuals who have gone through the criminal justice system, paid their debt to society and now want to become productive members of the community again.
Expungement is a legal process set forth in Utah law. It defines who is,and who is not eligible to clear their court records. Application for expungement must be submitted to BCI and filed with the court.
Salt Lake County is planning another Expungement Day event in October, to help individuals complete the process and obtain orders of expungement from the court.
As part of Operation Rio Grande, Salt Lake County launched its first ever, Expungement Day event in April 2018. The county was able to speak with more than 450 individuals and offer some type of expungement legal assistance to 73 people who attended.
Below are two videos that feature information about expungement eligibility and the expungement process.