Criminal record makes life difficult for ex-con
A fight between Richard Reid and his cousin dramatically changed the course of his life in 2006 when it turned deadly. The now ex-convict was sentenced to four years in prison for manslaughter at just 16 years old. And although he served his time in prison, the real challenge for Reid started when he returned to society at 20 years old.
Reid told THE STAR that his ex-convict status has kept him from keeping a job. He said that he was offered a promotion three times at different jobs, but was asked to leave when he couldn’t produce a clean police record.
The father of two said that he has since applied for expungement from the Ministry of Justice, but his application has been denied without an explanation.
“I applied in October 2017, and got turned down in November 2018,” he said.
Reid, who currently lives in Ocho Rios, said that he reapplied in December 2018, and waited three months before checking up on his application. But he has little faith that it will come through.
“When I called, a lady answered me. I said I’m checking up on my record at the expungement office. She put me on hold, saying that she was going to transfer me, but I was there waiting until the phone got cut off. And when I tried calling back, the phone rang without answer,” he said
“So I just started crying, saying that this is just another disappointment, because I do not have the money to go to Kingston. They’re just going to tell me that it’s not ready.”
According to the Ministry of Justice’s website, in order to qualify for expungement, two essential conditions must be satisfied.
“The offence in question must be one which attracts a non-custodial sentence or sentence of imprisonment not exceeding five years; and the person in question must not have had any other convictions during a specified period of time, referred to as the ‘Rehabilitation Period’,” the website said.
For quite some time, Reid was a houseman at a hotel in Ocho Rios. And although his employer is impressed with his work ethic, he had to put his employment on hold until he is expunged.
“In November, they called me at work, and say: ‘Listen, we’re not going to fire you, because you’re more of an asset than a liability. We’re going to give you a chance to get a clean record, and you can come back to work any day, and you’ll start work again.’ So I’m just awaiting the record to go back to work,” he said.
However, the situation has left him depressed.
“Sometime mi think that God nuh like mi, and God nuh forgive mi. Because look how long mi do dat, and all now mi caan clear. I even thought about writing to my uncle, which was the father of the deceased, to explain what happened. But then mi seh, it happen so long, mi nuh wah bring it up back,” he said.
Reid also lamented that his current unemployment status has placed a huge burden on his family.
“I have the bank calling me because I have a loan. I owe three months’ rent. It’s my daughter’s birthday, and I can’t even send her $1,000 to buy KFC. It hurts me so much. I also have a seven-month-old son, and his mother is not working,” he said.