* If true, that’s almost a third of the state’s population…
Approximately 4 million people in Illinois currently have some type of arrest or conviction record that would show up on a routine background check, said Anthony Lowery, director of policy and advocacy with the Chicago-based Safer Foundation, an organization focused on reducing recidivism rates.
“You may find a few employers who may understand the need for providing second chances, but the majority of employers don’t,” he stressed. “This has been a long-standing battle over the years to just level the playing field [and] provide people who show that they’ve rehabilitated their lives the opportunity to just work. I think the simplicity of work is the most direct link to reduce recidivism, saving taxpayers in this state millions of dollars in the associated costs of incarceration.”
Illinois already prohibits state agencies from asking about criminal history on initial government job applications. Job applicants no longer have to check a box on state employment applications indicating whether they have pled guilty to or been convicted of any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation.
* On to our second number…
Under the Juvenile Court Act, both arrest and court records for juveniles in Illinois are confidential and sealed. That sounds pretty off-limits. So why should people have to spend time and money to expunge juvenile records, if they’re already protected? […]
These are jobs in which the application form will typically include a request for authorization to run a background check. Once a prospective employer sees that, “even while you may figure that these records are sealed and you don’t have to worry about them,” Hamann said, “there’s a whole number of exceptions where it’s within their right and it’s commonplace for them to consider juvenile arrest records.”
He says that includes the Chicago Park District and many government jobs. […]
In 2013 there were about 26,000 juvenile arrests in Cook County. A little over 20,000 of those were arrests that never led to formal criminal charges. Now, bear in mind that juvenile records can’t be expunged until a person turns 18. So each year you have people in the pipeline, coming of age, who are eligible for those expungements. But as you see in the chart above, in 2013, there were only 660 juvenile records expunged in all of Cook County.