CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A free clinic was held in Carbondale on Saturday to help people with a criminal background clean up their past records.
The Free Expungement/Sealing Clinic was hosted by the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, the NAACP and others.
Andrew Weaver with the Land of Lincoln Foundation said it is very important to find out if one has a criminal background they can get rid of to help them find work and life a better life.
"When you have a criminal record, it can affect your housing, your ability to get jobs or to get a better job," Weaver explained. "So it's really important for people that has a record in the past, they've done their time, they've done their waiting period, that they actually have the opportunity to ask the court to seal it so that they can get better housing and better jobs."
NAACP Carbondale Communications Chairperson Roy Mazuchowski said this event is very much needed in the area to provide people a fresh start in life.
"It would remove that barrier when employers are checking backgrounds," Mazuchowski said. "It will remove that and allow them to be on equal footing with everyone else that is applying."
Weaver said this event on Saturday had a large turnout, the same as, other events held in neighboring Southern Illinois communities in recent past. He feels that this means that this service is really needed in this region.
"These folks want a better life," Weaver said. "They're wanting to move on with their life and put their past behind them."
"I hope and pray that this is changing lives," Mazuchowski added. "This teaches people once they get their record clear, expunged or sealed, that they take this opportunity to want to do better."
If you would like more information on seeking assistance with past criminal backgrounds, you can call the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation at 1-877-342-7891.