Jail Brakers and Prairie State Legal Services to offer cannabis expungement event June 18

  • James Carpenter, director of Jail Brakers

    James Carpenter, director of Jail Brakers

Updated 6/15/2022 1:11 PM

On Saturday, June 18, Jail Brakers, a program offering support and services to the families of incarcerated individuals, and experts from Prairie State Legal Services will be offering a special sealing and expungement of cannabis records and convictions presentation.

It will be 5 to 7 p.m. at Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry.


After the state of Illinois legalized recreational use of cannabis, the Legislature passed an automatic expungement of the records of those convicted of simple possession of small amounts of the drug.

Many others, however, convicted of possession of larger quantities and/or sale and distribution are required to actively petition to have their records removed.

The standing convictions can have drastic consequences for seeking employment and housing, passing background checks, obtaining certain licenses and business permits, obtaining insurance, and even child custody.

Prairie State Legal Services, 400 Russel Court in Woodstock, has developed a special program to guide and instruct individuals on how to make their appeals.

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The two-hour program is free to the public and a dinner will be provided.

To register for the event, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/354666606367.

James Carpenter, a certified recovery support specialist, expedited the program for Jail Brakers and in his broader role coordinating criminal justice system initiatives for Tree of Life.

The program is produced in cooperation with New Leaf Illinois, a statewide, state-funded initiative made up of 20 non-profit organizations throughout Illinois who provide free legal representation or legal information to people who want their cannabis convictions off their record.

Jail Breakers is an independent ministry of Tree of Life serving the entire McHenry County community. Contributions to support its work can be made by sending a check made out to Tree of Life UU Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road, McHenry, IL 60050 with Jail Brakers on the memo line or donate online at treeoflifeuu.breezechms.com/give/online and select Jail Brakers from the drop-down menu under "Give to Unpledged Donations." The donations are placed in a dedicated fund and not used for any other purpose. Tree of Life also donates all the administrative expenses of the program so 100% of all donations go directly to client assistance.

For assistance and information, contact James Carpenter at (815) 322-3223, e-mail jailbrakers@gmail.com, or visit treeoflifeuu.org/justice/social-justice/jail-brakers/.