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Showing posts from March, 2010

DC CRIME EXPUNGEMENT POLICY: A Systemic Contradiction

On March 12th, 2010 a fellow homeless advocate and I co-hosted a meeting with the homeless during which they could learn about how crime expungement works in Washington, DC. We invited a woman from the re-entry program at the office of the public defender to speak to the group of about 25 homeless people who were hoping to get their crimes expunged so that they could re-enter the workforce. There were about a dozen other people present as well -- a couple of sociology professors and a few of their students, a reporter for DC's street paper (www.streetsense.org) and at least one man who wasn't homeless but wanted his single crime from 45 years ago expunged.

This meeting had originally been scheduled for February 12th, but was postponed due to Snowmageddon. That might've been a good thing after all; because, many of the homeless who would've come in February as an excuse to get out of the cold didn't come to the March meeting and thus avoided the upset which those of…

Snowmageddon

Spring has made an early start. The last couple of days have been beautiful. However, a few short weeks ago, quite the opposite was true. Washington had more snow this winter than in any other winter on record. They broke the 1898 seasonal record of 54.5 inches by a half inch. The snowstorms were coming back-to-back. President Obama and others had come to know the event as "Snowmageddon" or "Snowpocalypse". And the names were indeed fitting, especially for the homeless who were getting by on 1 meal per day in some cases.

About a year ago, the president chided Washington for not having that "Chicago toughness" after the city was shut down by 2 inches of snow. (Some people believe that that statement is the one correct thing that Mr. Obama has said or done since taking office.) While his statement isn't any less true this year, the considerably larger amount of snow this winter justifies the more recent city-wide shutdowns.

No matter how muc…