Black Immigrant Daily News
Jamaicans with criminal records for certain offences are being encouraged to apply for expungement through the Ministry of Justice.
Senior Policy Analyst at the Justice Ministry, Shanique Graham, said expungement aims to remove an offence from a person’s criminal record.
“It aims to give persons a second chance, a clean slate to start over to be able to apply for a job, migrate and to have peace of mind, knowing they do not have a certain offence following them,” she said.
There are specific offences that the Criminal Records Rehabilitation of Offenders Act clearly specifies cannot be expunged at this time.
“Murder and offence in relation to the distribution of child pornography, carnal abuse with a person under 16, and sex with a person under 16 are not expungable. There are also issues in relation to firearm possession and ammunition that are not expungable at this time. There is a long list in the legislation that we are governed by,” Graham said.
She pointed out that the persons must first be aware that they have a criminal record.
“Usually this happens when a person is applying for a job and they are asked to get a police record. When you get the police record and you realise an offence comes up, you may not have remembered there was an offence, because it happened 20 years ago,” she said.
Once an offence has been identified, persons can contact the Ministry of Justice.
“Not all offences are expungable. [Persons can] get some information in terms of whether or not they would have met the rehabilitation period to be able to apply for expungement,” Graham said.
For details on how to get your records expunged persons are being encouraged to visit moj.gov.jm.
“You can contact the Ministry’s Customer Service area, but the particular department/office that deals with expungement is the criminal civil and family law unit in the Ministry of Justice, otherwise called CCFLU,” Grant said.