CLEVELAND — Hearings for Thursday’s one-day sealing clinic at Glenville Recreation Center are now complete.
This means some people are walking away with a second chance.
“I got my life back today,” said Helen Banks–Jenkins.
Helen Banks–Jenkins is overcome with emotion at Glenville Recreation Center for good reason.
“I had seven convictions, three of them were felonies, four were misdemeanors and there is a God because all seven of them were dismissed today,” said Banks–Jenkins.
Now, Banks–Jenkins says she can finally move forward after years of delaying her dreams.
“I can go ahead and start my home care center and do things I’ve been wanting to do but was holding me back, now I can go forward and move on and get my life back together,” said Banks–Jenkins.
Hearing stories like Banks–Jenkins is why Judge Michelle Earley, from the Cleveland Municipal Court,
says Thursday’s one-day sealing clinic is important for the community.
“We’ve seen a lot of people indicate that they want this to happen because of housing, because they’re not able to get a job, so we really see the impact. It’s pretty exciting actually,” said Earley.
Earley says she understands first-hand people, like Banks–Jenkins and Falona King deserve a fresh start.
“You can get a job, but you can’t really get a good job, and so I was just hoping to move on from this,” said King.
Unfortunately, King’s process for getting her records expunged will take a little bit more time but she says she’s not going to give up and encourages others to do the same.
“People just listen to other people, it’s like word-of-mouth thing like ‘Oh, you can’t get that off, that’s going to be with you forever’ but you actually can try to get it off and move on with your life,” emphasized King.
In the last eight months, Earl B. Turner, with the Clerk of Cleveland Municipal Courts, says it has taken a team effort from public entities such as the prosecutor’s and public defender’s offices and legal works in order to organize Thursday’s event.
“This has been really near and dear to me for such a long time, going back in the community helping people,” said Turner.
“This was a hands-on experience of work here helping people make impactful things for their lives happen, and so I was just blessed to see that and to be here in this moment,” said Cleveland Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Aqueelah Jordan.
Organizers tell News 5 that more than 200 people attended Thursday’s event so they hope to have another one planned soon.
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