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Former inmates still pay for crimes, even after they pay debt to society

After serving seven years behind bars for securities fraud, Sue Ellen Allen walked out of Perryville Women’s prison in Glendale on March 19, 2009. But even as she walked away, prison followed her. Even as she tried to start a new life, she always had to “check the box” that said she had been convicted of a crime.
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Dec 18, 2015, 9:11 am
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Thank you for publishing this piece. It is important to understand that a key component of released inmates being able to rebuild their life is to remove unnecessary barriers from doing so.

I get that there are life-long losers who want to commit crimes and do time just because. But, there are also people who either just made a dumb mistake, or got caught up in something that got out of hand and have no desire to return to a life of crime and want to build a life. Often the latter turns back to crime because of no other options.

Arizona has a “set aside” statute, but I think they should go a step further with it and create an expungement one. I believe that once someone has paid their debt to society, meaning that they’ve done their time, they’re off parole or probation, and they’ve paid all their fines and restitution, then that should be it. After their debt is paid they should be able to keep the past where it belongs. I mean, how long are you going to hold something against somebody? And people say that I hold grudges….

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