Ex-offenders get a chance at a clean slate

Ex-offenders get a chance at a clean slate

On Saturday, around two hundred Sangamon County residents had the opportunity to get their criminal record wiped clean for free.

It was for the expungement-seal summit.

"We found that in the neighborhoods and the community there were a lot of people that really needed our help," said Joy Burgess, with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.

A group of lawyers gave free advice to a couple hundred people who've been convicted of a crime, letting them know if they qualified to either have the conviction expunged or sealed from their record.

Expunged means it's wiped clean.

Sealed means only certain people can see it, so it won't come up when an employer does a background check.

"We feel that just because people are ex-offenders doesn't mean they shouldn't have a chance at life," said Burgess.

That's people like Shayne Emery.

"I'm trying to get my record expunged because I am an ordained minister, I’m trying to get a job within my church or other churches to fulfill my journey with God,” said Emery.

If he has to check yes to a conviction when applying, it could halt that journey,

"Other people could look down on me and say you've been convicted of this, you've been convicted of that I don't know if we can trust you within the admissions of God,” explained emery.

With a clean record, Emery has a chance to start fresh.

Sangamon County officials said they try to hold events like this at least once a year.

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