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Isaac Brown serves on Virginia Expungement Council and advocates for people with criminal records

Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail
Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail(WVIR)
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 12:50 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A man from Charlottesville released from prison more than ten years ago is still facing issues due to his record.

Isaac Brown is a Old Dominion University alum and now works in a health facility. He says he has worked to turn his life around in many ways since his release but there are some hurdles still in his way.

“Post incarceration, if it wasn’t for family I probably wouldn’t have anywhere to go. I bounced around to cities and locations and never really had a place of my own,” said Isaac Brown.

That’s the case for many people when released from jail or prison.

Brown serves on the Virginia Expungement Council. They work to help people in Charlottesville and surrounding areas get their life back when released.

He had no rental history, due to his criminal record. This stopped him from being able to rent in the future, making it difficult to build the rental history leasing officers were looking for.

“It’s like you’re in jail socially, you’re in jail financially, in jail through the options that you have,” Brown said.

There were other prices to pay, even after he found housing that accepted his record, lack of credit, and absence of rental history.

A leasing manager agreed to let him live on property but didn’t show him the unit first. He signed the lease in desperation as he needed the space to start work nearby.

“She was like, I can’t show you the place and I didn’t understand why,” Brown said.

He found holes in walls, mold, roaches, and no washer or dryer as advertised.

This is one example of repercussions that linger due to criminal records.

Brown says, people can make a difference by reaching out to legislators to ask for an expungement protocol for people on a case by case basis.

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