Friday, May 30, 2014

Illinois Youth Gets a Second Chance {Expunge Juvenile Records}

For the past 12 years I have been working in Social Services as a youth advocate.  The one aspect that I love about social service work is working directly with youth.  Three years ago I had the pleasure of teaching GED classes to court involved youth.  The youth attended GED classes in the morning,  and job readiness training workshops in the afternoon.  

The youth in the program were just like any other teen you know, they however had a background that would keep employers from hiring the.  While, being young and dumb is not cool, having a record at a young age limits your possibilities in life.  To help get youth on the path to success the llinois  House passed a bill Wednesday that would strike the arrest records of kids who haven’t been convicted of a crime.
“Having a single juvenile arrest can impact the ability of youth to successfully compete for education, scholarships, employment and service opportunities later in life,” said the bill’s main sponsor Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago. The Senate Bill 978 would require the Illinois State Police to wipe clean the arrest record each year for those under the age of 18, so long as they weren't convicted of a crime.
This does not apply to youth arrested for sexual crimes.  According to Turner, the current process to expunge a person’s arrest record is “cumbersome” in that it takes time, money and is subject to all sorts of red tape. Turner said the fact that his bill automatically wipes these records for free will give young people a “fresh start” as they apply for a job or for college. Now that the youth are on an even playing field, they have an equal shot at accessing education, financial aid, housing, and employment. This also means that there should be less excuses.  The measure passed 74-40 in the House and goes to the Senate.

Please be sure to share this with your community.  

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