New Laws Established to help Ex-offenders in Illinois

crimeOn August 3rd, Governor Pat Quinn authorized a series of laws that will help reformed ex-felons get back on their feet.  State Senator Patricia Van Pelt, who sponsored the change, said that there are four million ex-felons in Illinois who would be assisted by these bills.  That number accounts for 40 percent of the adult population in the state.  The hope is that these new laws will allow ex-offenders become contributing members of society. The first law establishes a new tax credit for Illinois employers who hire ex-convicts.  Changes include an increase from the previous tax credit which maxed at $600 per employee to a new maximum of $1,500.  The old law made the tax credit only available if a company hired an ex-offender within one year of being released.  Now the time frame has increased to three years to allow for more opportunities to secure employment.  The credit can also be used for up to five years. During the press conference which was held during the signing Governor Quinn explained the reasons behind the change.  “Formerly incarcerated individuals should not face a life sentence of no job prospects and no opportunities to better themselves just because they have served time in prison.  These new laws will help them get back on their feet, contribute to their communities and keep one offense from becoming a life-long barrier.” Quinn also signed other laws to help those facing trial for breaking the law.  New legislation will offer prosecutors and judges different options for the sentencing of non-violent offenders.  It was referred to as the “second chance probation” program.  Any conviction of a non-violent crime can be erased from a defendant’s record with the successful completion of a probationary period of at least two years. Also with an eye to helping people restore their lives, another law was signed to expedite the expungement process.  But these laws are not supposed to be free passes.  Probationary terms still need to be served to ensure a transition into a stable job, educational assistance and a better life. If you have been charged with any crime, it is important to have an advocate to help you.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in DuPage County who has a background in clearing criminal records.  Don’t waste any time before reestablishing your life.