Illinois’ pension crisis has been a growing problem for decades, and its negative effects on state residents are well documented.1 Economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and related government shutdown orders threaten to bring that long-running crisis closer to its breaking point. The state’s five pension systems collectively held nearly $139 billion of debt at...View Report
The Illinois General Assembly passed over 600 new laws in 2019. Some helped taxpayers, but many more hurt as they spent $85 billion while doing little to fix the pension crisis.
Illinois has started to embrace second chances for people who have been through the criminal justice system.
While 2017 was a bad year for Illinois taxpayers, there are bright spots among the bills that passed the General Assembly.
In 2017 the Illinois General Assembly passed two bills that can improve employment outcomes for ex-offenders, potentially reducing crime and saving millions of dollars.
The new laws will make it easier for ex-offenders re-enter their communities.
Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly have now passed a measure to enable more ex-offenders to petition a court to seal their criminal records. This will help former inmates gain access to employment – and stay out of prison.
Reforms such as record sealing expansion make it likelier that ex-offenders will be able to find work – and stop cycling in and out of prison. That means they and their families will have a chance to succeed. And the more ex-offenders enter this virtuous cycle – instead of returning to prison – the better off the state and taxpayers will be, too.
Research shows that recidivism rates drop for ex-offenders who are able to find steady employment.
Illinois governors don’t just pass on debt to their successors – they also leave behind a backlog of petitions for clemency.
Although a new study by Northwestern University researchers shows ex-offenders can make good hires, obstacles such as negligent-hiring liability hinder employers willing to give ex-offenders a chance.