Sangamon County offering to expunge criminal records
In just a few weeks, anyone with a criminal record in Sangamon County will have the chance to see whether or not their charges can be expunged, or removed from their record.
People like Ronnie Lofquist know just how difficult it can be to get a job without a clean record.
"It could be the difference between an extra $5 - $10,000 a year,” Lofquist said. “And every penny counts in this economy."
Sangamon County residents with charges on their background check are getting the chance to get a clean record. On November 17, the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Group will provide around 10 pro-bono attorneys to review criminal records.
"If it can be expunged, we can help them pursue the process,” Sangamon County Circuit Clerk Paul Palazzolo said. “If it can't, that's not certainly the best news that folks will want to hear, but there's another process as well, and that's a gubernatorial pardon.”
Sealing someone's record may also be an option. The attorneys will determine if this is possible, by law, on a case by case basis.
"We are very excited to help with potentially boosting the economy by allowing these people to have the opportunity to get a job, if they've had a criminal background that's withheld them from getting a job,” Background Analyst Danielle Watts said. “Maybe even renting a home for the first time if they've had a conviction."
Some said a second chance is all it takes to turn someone's life around.
"You have to man up or woman up and say, 'I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone and turn my life around,'” Lofquisr said.
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