Today is Easter. I was raised Catholic and told that Easter was about forgiveness. Although I would not consider myself a practicing Catholic, I do believe that forgiveness is important part of life, and not just a part of this season.
One part of the prostitution law that passed in November was this allowance of forgiveness. Women who were charged with prostitution would be able to get their first offense expunged. This was a very important part of the law, to me this was the most important part of the law. It would allow for the women to not face life with a burden of a criminal record. It would allow them to not face employment or housing discrimination. This would allow them a second chance, where they would not be destined to be in the lifestyle if they wanted to get out. (This only applied for first time offenders)
Well it seems that a few women decided they wanted to get out. They wanted to change their lives, to be able to apply for jobs without marking down they had a criminal record. We all know that the job search in Rhode Island is abysmal, 3rd highest unemployment in the country, can you imagine if you had the Scarlet letter of a prostitution charge on your file?
One women commented on this blog:
I work for a social service agency that assists ex-offenders. Last month, several of the women we assist applied for expungement of previous prostitution related offenses. ALL met the current criteria (had only one offense), and ALL WERE DENIED in the 6th District by one VERY prejudice and lousy jurist.
It is sad that this law that was changed with the mantra of “Helping the women” has not helped one iota.