Open Collective
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End of Year Update - 2023
Published on December 20, 2023 by Austin Bagwell


What did we accomplish during 2023? How did we use our money?


Accomplishments
The Durham DEAR (Durham Expunction and Restoration) office filed 727 petitions generated using the Petition Generator tool created by Code with Durham during the period of January 1, 2023 through December 13, 2023. These 729 petitions represented a total of 4,499 charges that were potentially eligible for expunction. These petitions resulted in the expunction of 108 convictions and 3,159 charges from the criminal records of DEAR’s clients. These numbers only include the community DEAR serves today, but next year the project will be expanding statewide. 

We partnered with Erik Johnson of Purpose UX to host a series of think-sessions with Legal Aid North Carolina (LANC), the organization that this tool supports. The goals of these sessions were to provide guidance on the UI/UX design of the petition generator tool, identify ways to improve the functionality of the tool, and to ensure that the tool was capable of meeting the evolving needs of the LANC team. 

Money / Budget
$1,682.14 was rolled into our Open Collective budget from our previous fiscal sponsor, Code for America. As of November 2023, we have not used any of those funds and do not currently have plans to use those funds for the remainder of 2023. 


Challenges and Growth

Challenges
The North Carolina Courts system is moving away from the CIPRS records system. The move to a new eCourts Portal system will require some changes to workflow for the LANC team as well as modifications to the petition generator tool. 

Growth
2023 saw the addition of new regular contributors (Austin and Rebecca) to the Code with Durham team.


Plans for 2024

The DEAR program will become a statewide program next year, greatly expanding its reach and making criminal record expunctions more accessible to North Carolinians. 

We will continue to adapt the tool to keep up with the changes presented by North Carolina’s move to the eCourts Portal system.

We will also explore enhancements to the tool via a connection to LegalServer’s API. This is still in the early stages of exploration, but could lead to workflow improvements for the LANC team.



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