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Sun Sentinel: “Prosecutor offering teens a way to get rid of criminal records”

There’s a new way for area youth with criminal records to get help wiping away their non-violent arrest histories.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office on Friday announced the start of an outreach effort for people under 21 to have their records of low-level offenses expunged.

It’s a program that “provides young people with minor transgressions an opportunity to get an education and find a job,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg said.

Those who qualify for the program would no longer have to disclose an arrest on college, technical school or employment applications. More than one arrest can be erased.

Aronberg says he expects there will be fewer repeat offenses or people needing public financial assistance, because they won’t be penalized by employers or schools for their juvenile crimes.

In May, the State Attorney’s Office sent notices to high schools, local colleges, churches, temples, mosques, and youth organizations announcing a series of workshops for the program.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Commission and the Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s office have joined this effort.

On Thursday, about 70 people attended sessions at the state attorney’s offices in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. They received help completing applications to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

That agency has the final say in removing an arrest record.

Another 30 to 35 people are registered to participate in workshops June 28 at the state attorney’s offices in Delray Beach and Belle Glade.

People interested in the program should send an email to to ask for a preliminary application that determines if someone is qualified to receive this help.

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