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Things I didn’t know until today

Tuesday, Oct 4, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller


In Illinois, an estimated 3.3 million people have criminal records, which can include everything from an arrest to years spent in prison. But even once that criminal case has run its course in the legal system — the punishment continues.

For example, Illinois code 720 ILCS 5/12-36 says, “It is unlawful for a person convicted of a forcible felony to knowingly own, possess, have custody of or reside in a residence with either an unspayed or unneutered dog…”

This law applies to people with cruelty to animal convictions, as well as those with drug or gun convictions. […]

Anyone with a criminal conviction can’t enter a bingo hall.

“So if I’m somewhere with my auntie at the church, at a bingo game, I’m subject to where I could be arrested for being on the premises of a bingo game,” Chamberlain says.

But there are other laws that hit closer to home.

“Last year, my father passed away. He appointed me as the executor over his estate, but because of my 25-year-old conviction, I wasn’t able to carry out my father’s last wishes,” Chamberlain said.

The state’s 1975 Probate Act prohibits anyone with a felony conviction from serving as executor or administrator over an estate.

Chamberlain says it impacts more than 600,000 people in Illinois.

* I also didn’t know that a town could shut off your water until you paid off a totally unrelated late fee

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  1. - MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:17 pm:

    Used to be that people who’d committed a crime could serve their time and then — if they kept their noses clean — get on with their lives.

    Laws like this, coupled with unprecedented levels of surveillance, mean that every sentence is now some form of life sentence.

    People deserve the opportunity to get right and get out from under their convictions.

    – MrJM

    p.s. Merle probably said it best:

  2. - dan l - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:17 pm:

    I wait patiently for my latest edition of North Chicago Times to tell me why this policy is a good thing.

  3. - clec dcn - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:20 pm:

    It sure seems incorrect to make blanket laws like this and make people’s lives worse.

  4. - In the know - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:21 pm:

    I hope Kincaid gets sued into nothingness, That practice seems shady as hell.

  5. - jim - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:21 pm:

    wonder how many people are charged with offenses like that each year. probably not many. but still would be good to scrub the statutes.

  6. - Lurker - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:23 pm:

    I heard the SAFE T Act will not only shutoff your water but return all of you garbage and dump it in your lawn for all Illinoisans.

  7. - H-W - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:23 pm:

    So, we can “ban the box” to prevent employers from asking about past criminal convictions, but we cannot prevent local governments from using municipal government tools to determine who is a former felon, in order to maintain their differential treatment after they have served their time. Good grief.

  8. - charles in charge - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:28 pm:

    Illinois needs to get rid of permanent punishment laws AND quit making so many people felons to begin with, by defelonizing small-scale drug possession and modernizing the threshold for prosecuting shoplifting as a felony.

  9. - Vote Quimby - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:36 pm:

    Sad, as my sister is one of the Illinois felons. But if the legislature acts to correct these mistakes in the law, during the next campaign the supporters will be attacked as being “soft on crime.”

  10. - charles in charge - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:42 pm:

    ==wonder how many people are charged with offenses like that each year. probably not many.==

    Wait, you think “probably not many” Illinoisans are charged with felonies every year? I’m afraid you are sadly mistaken.

  11. - Ok - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:45 pm:

    I think the public has a right to know whether there is a BINGO game happening in a public facility. I think there should be signs posted outside every building accessible to the general public that informs them whether BINGO is taking place.

  12. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:47 pm:

    Some of these pertaining to housing are probably illegal. I do not believe you can any longer have a blanket ban that bars all felons from an apartment or condo. The Feds are beginning to claim that is discrimination. Also Illinois used to ban a felon from certain jobs that require a state license such as interior decorator or well cap inspector. I think we have stopped some of that. I think a felon say ten or 15 years after completing parole with no other crimes should automatically have his records expunge. With certain exceptions

  13. - Huh? - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:48 pm:

    “In Illinois, an estimated 3.3 million people have criminal records”

    1 in 4 people in Illinois have a criminal record. That is an eye popping statistic.

  14. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 2:48 pm:

    3.3 million? What are we, Australia?

  15. - Groucho - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:03 pm:

    It is not surprising that we have so many laws that seem ludicrous. It feels like every problem we face is addressed with a new law. After 80 years these laws add up. At least the city rescinded the law requiring everyone to own a leather bucket. They were hard to come by.

  16. - SuburbanRepublican - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:17 pm:

    I agree that the policy in Kincaid is quite harsh. But shouldn’t these local governments be allowed to enact policies to enforce their local ordinances without state interference? If the residents in a community don’t like the policy, rally together and force change through the ballot box. Just my two cents.

  17. - Southside Markie - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:21 pm:

    Some state licensing laws leave the determination of whether a person with a felony conviction can get a license up to the discretion of the licensing agency. However, many of those applicants eventually get denied because they don’t meet the “good character” requirement of a statute. Also, Ban the Box has proved to be a paper tiger. It took the Dept. of Labor a year to respond to the complaint I made, with nothing more than a cease and desist letter to the violator.

  18. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:22 pm:

    No I love Illinois, lived here my entire life and it was a far more competitive state when there was political diversity and divided government before 2003.

    The unfunded pensions were only 43 billion then that was after they borrowed 10 billion in pension bonds.

    I can’t figure out why you guys can’t get out of your ideological bubble see what is obvious, what we are doing for downstate business development is failing spectacularly.

    Illinois is a big state and there is plenty of room for Republicans just like there are millions of Democrats in Texas and Florida. Should they leave too?

  19. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:22 pm:

    –That practice seems shady as hell.–

    “The village board voted for the change after the police said they were having a hard time collecting revenue from tickets”

    Another wonderful example of what happens when local towns duplicate state laws into local ordinances. The local areas want the control. Dominionism comes in many costumes, but always has the same motivation.

    Kincaid is not alone in this. The now-former mayor of a nearby town was using ordinance violations to punish his political rival - one of whom is now the new mayor. Small towns all over the state have this same policy. Many suburban towns do to. Mostly because anytime the police say they want something, the village boards just rubber stamp it.

    How many people have actually looked at their own towns ordinances?

    I really think it is worth the legislatures time to update the home rule and municipal laws to address this practice of duplicating state laws into local ordinances. We will keep hearing about towns like this until the core problem is addressed.

  20. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:24 pm:

    –rally together and force change through the ballot box.–

    They just did that, and elected the people who said they wanted more local control.

  21. - Huh - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:37 pm:

    So which is it, can’t be at a bingo game, or can’t be on the premise of a bingo hall?

  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:47 pm:

    ===before 2003===

    LOL, you’ve been miserable for 19+ years?

    I mean, pal, you coulda moved every family member, gotten that better job, cheaper housing, lower taxes, better schooling…

    This is an utterly embarrassing admission… sincerely.

    All your heroes left.

    If it’s so great elsewhere, I’d go… 19 years of misery, no wonder you can’t see any good, lol

  23. - don the legend - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:47 pm:

    ==1 in 4 people in Illinois have a criminal record. That is an eye popping statistic.==

    If you remove the population under 18 the ratio is even more eye popping.

  24. - Nellie Fox - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:49 pm:

    3.3 million is almost half of the adults in Illinois. That number doesn’t sound right.

  25. - Vote Quimby - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 3:55 pm:

    I think 3.3 million having a “criminal record” means anyone with even a traffic ticket… felons account for “only” 600,000 or so.

  26. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:04 pm:

    Absolutely agree with MisterJayEm.

    It was jarring to watch a recent episode of Tatort (a German language police procedural) that used the expression “This isn’t America” and not in a good way, they were referring to the fact that a person could leave prison and get on with his life and have a real chance for a second chance at life.

  27. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:05 pm:

    The question arises, of course, which felon absconded with the bingo $$?

  28. - H-W - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    = shouldn’t these local governments be allowed to enact policies to enforce their local ordinances without state interference? =

    It depends. As long as the first 9 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are not infringed (especially to oft forgotten Ninth), and as long as the State Constitution is not infringed, then yes. Municipalities should be able to pass laws, subject to the will of the local people.

    But Federal and State granted rights come first to citizens.

    In that context, it would seem to me that denying former felony offenders equality before the law, and equal protections of the law, is an affront to the idea of restorative justice, and fair sentenceking

    I would also suggest that denying anyone access to life (water) is a cruel and unusual form of punishment, and that parochial prejudices against class of citizens should not empower municipalities to act, by any means necessary, to oppress their citizens.

  29. - Southside Markie - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:14 pm:

    Here are some additional stats:
    According to the State’s own projections, ~40% of persons released from prison will recidivate within 3 years. Each time that happens, it costs Illinois $151+, for an estimated total of $13Billion for the five year period ending next year. The harder we make it for these people to reenter society, the more that it costs.

  30. - SouthSide Markie - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:15 pm:

    The figure should have been $151,000+. Sorry for the typo.

  31. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:21 pm:

    Also sorta on point I did not know this was possible but if you are a tenant in a commercial building and the building owner does not pay the real estate taxes some towns will deny you the tenant a business license even though you have done nothing wrong. I had to check that out and town said it had every right to deny a business license to innocent ten

  32. - Old and retired - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:30 pm:

    As another consequence, child support enforcement courts are full of people who want to work to support their children but cannot get employment because of all the employment restrictions placed on former felons.

  33. - The Velvet Frog - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 4:32 pm:

    “divided government before 2003″

    Was Rauner governor before 2003?

  34. - WestBurbs - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 5:05 pm:

    One way to help a bit is to reform the expungement statutes and, more importantly, let people know they can expunge. Not a panacea but better than you might think

  35. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 6:12 pm:

    Can’t believe I had never heard of any of this.
    They complain about everything, everything - yet not a word about this?

  36. - Huh? - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 6:34 pm:

    I really wish the doppelganger at 3:37 would find another handle. I’ve had this one since blago was in office.

    This nonsense of poaching someone else’s moniker is the utmost in rudeness.

    I’m not the only one. As I recall Demoralized had a similar problem a few months ago.

  37. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 6:47 pm:

    There is something that feels wrong with that 3.3M number…

  38. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 7:11 pm:

    - Illinois is a big state and there is plenty of room for Republicans just like there are millions of Democrats in Texas and Florida. Should they leave too? -

    What on earth are you babbling about? Illinois isn’t a military dictatorship, no one is voting with a gun to their head.

    Stop whining and convince people you’re right as you’ve so thoroughly done to yourself. Your incessant whining is insufferable.

  39. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Oct 4, 22 @ 7:14 pm:

    IMHO people who serve their sentence and return to society and stay free of issues should have all of their rights returned. This not only applies to the State level,but the Federal as well.

    There are some exceptions I would entertain, serial killers, those whose victims were children or elderly and non repented offenders.

    I was once read the average person could unknowingly commit 3 felonies a day due to the large amount of laws we have. Maybe instead of making more laws we should clean up the laws we already have.

  40. - Bobisgood - Wednesday, Oct 5, 22 @ 8:28 am:

    Bad reporting by WTTW, which is normally an outstanding source, very selective editing on their part. The felon dog law says, “Possession of unsterilized or vicious dogs by felons prohibited. or neutered, any dog that has been determined to be a vicious dog under Section 15 of the Animal Control Act.”

  41. - Randal - Wednesday, Oct 12, 22 @ 6:07 pm:

    All deposits and withdrawals at these casino operators are protercted
    applying the newest SSL encryption technology.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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