Substance Use Recovery, Job Training Program Sees First Expungement
A free, state-run, substance-use recovery and job-training program celebrated a big milestone this week. The Jobs & Hope West Virginia initiative saw its first expungement.
A participant this week was the first in the program to clear their criminal record of substance-use related crimes. The governor’s office said there are a few others who are close.
The milestone expungement was made possible through a partnership with Legal Aid of West Virginia. The partnership has also helped clients regain custody of their children or address monetary debt concerns.
The goal of Jobs & Hope, which was unveiled by Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials last fall, is to help West Virginians get into recovery and then, get them back to work. The initiative also aims to help people in recovery reinstate their driver’s licenses, or clear any criminal record related to substance use.
“The idea was to link these struggling West Virginians with transition agents who are there for them every step of the way, removing all the barriers to employment they might face, including the possibility of a one-time expungement for non-violent offenses,” Justice said in a press release this week. “I’m excited to see that this program is really working in terms of getting West Virginians back on their feet and contributing to society in a way that’s good for everyone.”
Justice said there are now 21 transition agents across the state helping people in the program. The governor’s office reports there are more than 1,800 active participants, and there have been more than 3,400 referrals to the program since its launch. More than 180 people have found work.
More information can be found at jobsandhope.wv.gov or by calling 304-583-4008 or 1-833-784-1385.