Shan Potts at the Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church.

— July 29, 2017

This past weekend I had the honor of speaking at the fourth annual All Men’s Conference hosted by Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, in south LA. I was inspired to see so many men gathered, young and old, from all walks of life.

Rev. John David Long, and the staff at Tabernacle of Faith have a long and rich tradition of service in the community. In fact, Rev. Long served for 23 years as the Supervisory Pastor to the U.S. Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons.

In this country, being convicted of a crime can have devastating consequences. And once out of custody, the hurdles can seem almost insurmountable. The effects of criminal convictions are pervasive and can continue causing harm long after a person has paid their debt to society. My hope is that we can reverse this trend. That’s my passion, and that was the focus of my talk.

“We are helping individuals with criminal records by clearing their records and giving them a second chance at life”

For many, a criminal conviction is like a scarlet letter that you wear for the rest of your life. But there is still hope.

I have been an immigration and criminal defense attorney for almost 20 years. In my practice, we’ve been successful in clearing criminal records to give people a second chance at life.

There are many reasons why clearing your criminal record can be beneficial. Most employers conduct background check and candidates with no criminal history have a significant advantage. Also, a conviction can often times disqualify you from receiving public assistance.

For immigrants, the stakes are even higher. The Trump administration has targeted non-citizens with criminal records for deportation. These deportations separate families and tear communities apart. Sometimes these individuals committed serious crimes and should be dealt with properly. But for a lot of folks, it’s often minor crimes, like driving without a license that can trigger immigration consequences.

We assist individuals from all walks of life to get a chance at a better start. A past criminal conviction is a heavy burden, but one that can be lifted.

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