LIFT Dane Launches Legal Tune Up to Provide Legal Assistance to Remove Civil Legal Barriers


LIFT Dane has released a new legal intervention to transform Dane County. The Legal Tune Up Tool is a free, automated tool to help people clean up their criminal records and give them access to new opportunities.

“It’s a new tool, an automated tool, that people can use to clear criminal records that are eligible for deletion,” Marsha Mansfield, director of LIFT Dane and LIFT Wisconsin. “So there are cases where people have been arrested, but not charged. Or charged and the cases were dismissed or even acquitted after a case and found not guilty. These are all records that can be removed from the criminal history repository. And we have designed an online tool so that people can easily complete the application that you have to make to the Department of Justice to have these records deleted. “

According to the LIFT Wisconsin Legal Interventions for Transforming Wisconsin fact sheet, records that may be deleted under Wisconsin law include charges dismissed or not prosecuted, arrest records where none charge was filed, records related to an acquittal. Records that do not qualify for deletion are dismissed charges that are part of an arrest event in which other charges resulted in a conviction. These include if someone was arrested for assault and battery and disorderly driving or if the battery was rejected but the disorderly driving was not.

“In Wisconsin, old cases are never taken from your criminal history,” Mansfield said. “And what happens is employers look at them when they do background checks. Homeowners review criminal history by performing background checks. And while it’s not legal in Wisconsin to discriminate against people based on a criminal record, in most cases people are swayed when they see things like this.

The free online tool Legal Tune Up was developed by LIFT Dane – with assistance from Legal Action of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, Employment and Training Association, Inc. and the Center for Patient Partnerships – for create civil justice and clear legal barriers to economic prosperity for families in Dane County. Dane County users who access the Legal Tune Up tool have access to employment resources and training.

“The tool can be used throughout Wisconsin, but it was in Dane County that we started the initiative,” Mansfield said. “And the process of erasing your records unfortunately requires that you have the form printed and put your fingerprints on it, because that’s how the Department of Justice associates you with the arrest. In Dane County, we reached an agreement with the Urban League and Wisconsin Legal Action. “

Residents of Dane County can make an appointment with the Urban League of Greater Madison or Legal Action of Wisconsin and complete an online form. The form is sent to one of these buildings and people can go and get their fingerprints and then the form is automatically sent to start the process of erasing the records.

“I hope, and I think other LIFT Dane affiliates are hoping that more people will use this tool to clear their records in order to get better jobs and better housing… because it will make a difference for them. and their families in our community, ”said Mansfield. “But I also hope that it will lead to a system change. There have been some criminal justice reform efforts in Wisconsin that haven’t gone very far yet and I hope this will help policymakers understand how the impact of having a criminal record can affect you for the rest. of your life.”

This tool will give people a new start in their lives and end discrimination against people with minor backgrounds and be a step towards legal fairness and justice in Wisconsin.

“So it (The Legal Tune Up Tool) gives people, they call it, a clean slate,” Mansfield said, “and the ability to start over without that kind of burden affecting their ability to get good. jobs and good housing. “

For more information on The Legal Tune Up, Click here.

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