Because so many potential employers perform criminal background checks, it’s often hard or impossible for ex-offenders to find employment and become contributing members of society.
And if ex-offenders can’t find work, they will struggle to get back on their feet, provide for their families and many can’t afford basic necessities such as food and housing.
Nearly 50 percent of ex-offenders end up back in prison within three years. This comes at a significant cost for Illinois taxpayers. Each instance of recidivism costs taxpayers and victims approximately $119,000.
By expanding the opportunity for record sealing to those who have committed nonviolent, nonsexual offenses, HB 2373 would make it more likely that ex-offenders would be able to find work.
Record sealing is a rigorous process that requires filing a petition with a judge and notifying law enforcement, who can oppose the request if they believe the person is still a public safety risk. A judge can then approve the petition if no objections are received, sealing the criminal record from the view of all but law enforcement and employers in sensitive fields such as schools and financial institutions.
HB 2373 would help ex-offenders find employment and keep them from becoming trapped in a revolving door, cycling in and out of prison.