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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Second Chances Summit Helps Illinois Residents Expunge Criminal Records

Rockford’s Nordlof Center played host to a legal clinic recently to help people expunge their criminal records.

Illinois law allows for people under certain conditions to have past offenses expunged, or for their criminal records to be sealed. The Second Chances Summit lets people get free legal assistance with this process, along with educational and career resources.  Illinois State Senator Steve Stadelman said this is the second such summit he’s organized. He said it has a significant impact on participants.

“When they finally have the opportunity to get that record sealed or expunged," he said, "it’s like this great weight has been lifted off their shoulders, and they feel much more positive."

Attorneys with Prairie State Legal Services were on hand to provide help with paperwork, along with various career and education resources. Participant Larry Wesley said it’s a chance to move on.

“Change, it can occur for everybody," he said.  "You just gotta be willing to want to make that choice to one day say, 'you know what, I don’t want to do this no more,' and just go the opposite way of where you was going.”

The was the second year for the event. More than 160 people signed up for legal assistance this year.