Second chance for a clean slate
Persons with a criminal record face many barriers, but perhaps most significant is the huge weight they carry around inside about this « thing » which seems to hang over everything they want to do.
A Parent with a Record
We had one client who never had a criminal record until his late adult life. The record that he now has, consists of only one offence. He has expressed to our staff numerous times the guilt, disappointment and shame that he feels as a result of this one “stupid” mistake that he made in his life. He also discussed with us the negative effects on his life that this one offence has had, such as the expenses associated with it.
However, the client also disclosed to us that the above hardships were nothing compared to the despair that he felt in having to tell his children about the mistake that he had made, and his resulting record. This client’s application for a Record Suspension has since been submitted to the Parole Board for review, and he is eagerly anticipating their decision. He looks forward to being able to look his children in the eye and tell them that he once again has a clear record. Not only will a Record Suspension provide our client with a number of increased opportunities in the community, it will allow him to once again feel as though his children are proud of him and look up to him.
We don’t shy away from complex situations
The mother of one client worked for a Provincial body, and was trying to get her son on the right track after a lengthy record. At first she was very involved, but he wasn’t expressing motivation. We met with him one on one, and it was clear he was very ashamed of his past and had a very difficult time dealing with it, so chose to have his mom do the Record Suspension application. He would stress out easily with paperwork, and after speaking with him he became more involved and was more open about his situation (make wrongs right again).
He’s trying to get a trucking licence and trying to start volunteering to coach his kids in soccer ( which he has shared custody for, so is trying to spend as much time as possible with them and build a healthy relationship). He received a 90 day proposal to deny and was devastated. The reason for his proposal to deny was because he had a number of speeding tickets and got a couple warnings from police for drug possession ( marijuana ), also having a warning for an assault.
Due to the high number of concerns he was nervous on how to reply. We walked him through the best ways to reply to the Parole Board of Canada, (replying back to each concern, adding character letters from family, friends, or co-workers, adding any certificates etc.) His first letter needed work, we made suggestions, and he went off and did it again. He came back with letters from families and certificates and a new letter which was good but he asked how he can make it even better. We gave more suggestions and he updated it further.
After working on the letter so hard we sent out his reply. A month later JHS received a letter that he has been approved. We called the client and he came in minutes later! We gave him the card and the client was so happy he cried and thanked JHS for helping with all the paperwork and walking him through on what to do.