This fall, Justice Lab students are continuing to work with their client, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE), on problems identified in our report, Proposed Solutions for Improving the Experience of Returning Citizens with the Philadelphia Traffic Division. That report showed that traffic fines and license suspensions dating from before an individual’s incarceration can present a major barrier to employability years later.
Students are surveying Philadelphians at expungement clinics and other community events in order to gather more data about the experiences of returning citizens with traffic issues. The students are also developing a pilot legal services program through which PLSE will offer direct help to returning citizens, with the hope that the program will eventually be implemented around Pennsylvania.
Gabrielle Green L’18, a Justice Lab student, had this to say after attending a community event: “I think the biggest learning moment today was meeting people where they are. One of our client’s missions is for the past to not affect an individual’s future in regard to their employment potential, and it is good to hear about some of the barriers, and the hopeful solutions. It made me understand that although we may be small in number, we can still have a big impact in making change happen.”