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Ex-Offenders Seek Second Chance In North Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Reentering society can be very tough for someone once incarcerated.

That's exactly why an event in North Philadelphia Monday night focusing on making that process a little easier drew large crowds.

Mayor Kenney stopped by "Pathway to Pardons" at Murrell Dobbins CTE High School on Lehigh Avenue.

"Our neighborhoods, our communities cannot be successful unless you are successful," he told those in attendance. "We're not here to judge. We're not here to do anything else but help."

Charles Reyes is one of the coordinators.

"It does my heart good to see everyone out in the community willing to help those gain a second chance," he says.

The event aims to help ex-convicts begin the pardon and expungement process through workshops and clinics.

One former felon really got Reyes' attention:

"He just began to weep. He spoke of how old his criminal background is and how it's been difficult for him to find employment."

That man is Bruce Morton, who says he was there to clear his record and find a job:

"Just get all the stuff off my record and go back to the community and get a better job, work for family and accomplish more things in life."

Lawyers were there to help with the expungement process. Employers there as well looking to hire. There was even a pardon workshop at the end.

Pardons workshop at the end of the event. credit cbs

"There's a lot of positive people out here that have been making these steps and it's true that things to this liking can happen," Morton says. "If they can get it done, I can get it done."

He's referring to the many success stories on hand who offered motivation to Morton and the others.

"Get my life together and try to do things positive for myself," he added.

Some other sessions included branding, reengaging in work force and starting a business.

About 50 organizations set up booths as well to offer support.

credit cbs
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