Journal of Law and Social Policy

Document Type

Voices and Perspectives

English Abstract

AMADEUSZ IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION IN ONTARIO that provides access to education, community supports, mentorship, and exceptional care for young adults ages eighteen to thirty-five who are or have been incarcerated. Using case studies of three participants from Amadeusz, we centre the lived experiences of racialized persons with a criminal record, outlining the challenges to accessing, and being approved for, a record suspension. Although the record suspension program is intended to assist with reintegration, the case studies show that the high monetary cost for the record suspension application, extensive waiting periods of five or ten years to qualify, consideration of prior non-conviction dispositions by the Parole Board, and the complexities rooted at the intersection of criminal law with immigration law create systemic barriers to effective long-term reintegration. These inequitable processes contribute to increased recidivism by limiting access to opportunities for upward social mobility and impeding the pathways to move beyond criminalized identities. Recommendations are made to improve the record suspension program, so that it does not continue to inequitably disadvantage Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (“BIPOC”), and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

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