Public Safety Experiences
We have distilled experiences from our community on how they interact with their communites and the police inforcement in their area. We hope shedding light on individual stories will help us better understand our city and focus our actions into possitive change.
Fri, Nov. 11, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ameca A. Reali,
Adrienne K. Wheeler,
SUPERINTENDENT RONAL SERPAS EXACERBATES DIFFICULTIES IN POST-CONVICTION RE-ENTRY THROUGH PUBLIC CRITICISM AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS
Improper Use of Criminal Records by Public Officials Damning to Positive Re-entry
November 11, 2011-- In connection to a separate and distinct criminal case, Superintendent Serpas improperly and wrongfully imputed guilt to an unrelated party by publicly disclosing a party's criminal record. Disclosure of criminal records of individuals who are unrelated to the criminal investigation creates unnecessary hurdles in the ability to positively re-enter society post-conviction. In fact, the result was a loss of employment.
The individual in question was fired by an employer who justified termination based on a Crime Against Nature conviction. Crime Against Nature is an arcane and duplicitous law that was amended by the state legislature in 2010 to revoke portions of the sex offender restrictions attached to it. Superintendent Serpas should be highly aware of the pending Eastern District of Louisiana suit challenging the statute as unconstitutional, Doe, et al. v. Jindal, et al.
To advertise a conviction related to this statute exacerbates the difficulty that predominantly women face following a conviction for what is known more commonly as prostitution. "When a public official decides to use a criminal record against individuals who are making strides towards leading normal lives, the effects are long-lasting," said Co-Founder and Director Ameca Reali. It is extraordinarily difficult for individuals who have served time and paid the price of liberty to re-enter society post-incarceration and find employment. The statements like those made by Superintendent Serpas creates additional hurdles in the already difficult process and negatively impacts our entire workforce.
In Louisiana, even an arrest will create a criminal record, regardless of whether any criminal charges were instituted. As a result, massive segments of our state population are rendered unemployable due to a criminal record, regardless of innocence, guilt, or time served.
"Our city should be in the business of helping citizens keep the jobs they have and not taking them away at the whim of a pubic official," said Reali.
The Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana tackles deficiencies in the post-conviction phase of the criminal justice system while creating a supportive collaborative space for attorneys and advocates. One of JAC’s primary issues is creating pathways for individuals to get their criminal records sealed, destroyed, and/or expunged.
Adrienne Wheeler, MA, JD
Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana