PCSI to hold free Criminal Record Expungement Clinic, March 4

Kurtis Mennitti, PCSI job developer and reentrant specialist

The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Pittsburgh Community Services Inc., is sponsoring an in-person event on March 4 that will provide individuals with a criminal record a workshop on the expungement process, free of charge.

The event is by appointment only, and those who wish to register must do so by calling PCSI at 412-904-4700. Interested people may also email PCSI’s job developer and reentrant specialist, Kurtis Mennitti, at kurtism@pghcsi.org.

The appointment grants people the opportunity to meet with members of the Allegheny County Public Defender’s office. Additionally, one can learn about the Pennsylvania pardon process, learn how to look up a court docket sheet, and connect with re-entrant-friendly employers.

“1 of 3 individuals in Allegheny County have some form of a criminal record,” Mennitti told the Courier in an exclusive interview, Feb. 23. “Many of the highly qualified individuals PCSI services have been unable to locate jobs that pay livable wages due to the barrier of having a criminal record. These individuals tend to make 10-20 percent less than other employees if they can locate employment. Some experience the barriers in other ways such as not being able to volunteer at their child’s school, while others experience difficulties locating safe and affordable housing. Yet others just no longer want old charges on their record. PCSI’s view is to help as many individuals and families rise above the limitations presented from living in poverty.”

PCSI’s “Pardon Hub” was created for this reason, Mennitti said. “The Pardon Hub looks at how we can help get a person successfully to employment by addressing all barriers to increase their chances of success.”

The March 4 event will follow all guidelines required by the County Health Department due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“All individuals entering the building will have their temperatures checked and be required to wear a mask,” Mennitti told the Courier. “…There are a lot of moving parts to the event. It will encompass not only individual review for Clean Slate, Expungement, and Pardons, but also assistance with job-readiness and employment referrals from the PCSI workforce team, while our case management staff will review how we can help with housing, utilities and more. With the sensitive nature of the event, along with COVID protocols, having a scheduled appointment time was the only way to make sure we could keep things confidential and safe.”

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