Local groups host clinic to seal and expunge criminal offenses - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local groups host clinic to seal and expunge criminal offenses

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CARBONDALE — Dozens of Southern Illinoisans took the first step to move past a prior criminal conviction Saturday at a legal clinic designed to help get those convictions expunged or sealed.

“A lot of people we look at their record and their crime will be 20, 30, even 40 years old,” said Andrew Weaver.

Weaver is a lawyer with Land of Lincoln, which organized the event alongside the Carbondale NAACP and the Center for Empowerment and Justice.

He says far too often someone makes a mistake that haunts them for years and limits their opportunities to succeed.

“A criminal record impacts their housing, it impacts their ability to get jobs int he future, to get promotions at jobs and so it can really better their life and give them better housing opportunities and better income opportunities,” he said.

Under Illinois law convictions in several types of crimes can be sealed or expunged.

Certain offenses, such driving under the influence, animal cruelty and several types of violent crimes aren’t eligible.

For Charah Mckinzie, it was about relieving people of a burden they’d carried for years, even decades. 

“I just want people to leave here today feeling like weights were lifted off of them, and that’s why I think it’s important. Because we have people that are qualified and ready to work and we just want to help,” she said.

Land of Lincoln and other partners hold events like this around the area on a regular basis and encourage people interested in their services to reach out.

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