CHICAGO – State Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, passed legislation earlier this week to increase accessibility to expungements by removing restrictions and reducing fees.
“When people make a mistake, it shouldn’t define them for the rest of their lives,” Turner said. “Unfortunately, the way expungement laws are currently written it does just that. If we want to help people improve their lives, then we must make significant changes to our criminal justice system.”
Under current state law, only individuals with no prior convictions on their records are eligible to apply for expungement. Additionally, they can be charged a filing fee when they give the court all of their paperwork. In Cook County, the filing fee is $120.
Turner’s House Bill 6328 expands the number people eligible to request to have their record expunged. They will still be eligible for expungement if they have no prior convictions, but individuals who were released without being charged, acquitted of the offense, had charges dismissed, and successfully completed court order supervision or probation would also be allowed to petition the courts. Additionally, Turner’s legislation removes the filing fees when someone seeks to have their record sealed or expunged and was not charged with a crime, was acquitted or had the case dismissed, reversed or overturned.
“This legislation is a good first step to reduce recidivism, by making it easier for people to move forward,” Turner said. “By making it easier to get their record expunged, we give them a much better chance of getting a job, finding an apartment and becoming part of our community.”
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