CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to automatically clear arrest records for less serious, non-violent juvenile cases. The Governor was joined by state and local officials and advocates to sign the “clean slate” measure that prevents a minor arrest from doing permanent damage to a young person’s life. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“Many young residents are arrested each year for minor offenses that have the potential to negatively affect their future,” Governor Quinn said. “These juveniles are often unaware that the record of their arrest can follow them into adulthood. This new law will ensure that those individuals are given a clean slate and have every opportunity to land a job and succeed in life.”
Senate Bill 978, sponsored by State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and State Representative Art Turner (D-Chicago), automatically clears a juvenile’s arrest record on his or her 18th birthday if that arrest did not result in criminal charges, and if there are no other subsequent arrests or juvenile delinquency petitions. The new law eliminates the need to navigate the court process to get a juvenile arrest record of this type expunged. The new law is effective January 1, 2015.
“I'd like to thank the Governor for his swift action in bringing about this forward-thinking change in law, which is a step towards ensuring our young adults who are doing the right thing in pursuing opportunities to advance themselves are not handicapped with a criminal record for an offense that was never pursued by prosecutors," Senator Raoul said.
Governor Quinn has supported and developed programs and signed legislation to give people of all ages a second chance in life. The Governor signed legislation that gives ex-offenders a second chance at employment and becoming productive members of their communities, and a law that broadens the list of sealable felonies and adds criteria for courts to use when deciding whether to grant an expungement.
Last year the Governor signed legislation to create a “second chance probation” option for non-violent offenders that allows a conviction to be cleared from a defendant’s record upon successful completion of at least a two-year period of probation. He also signed bills to streamline the criminal record expungement and sealing process, and to give the courts discretion or jurisdiction to seal non-conviction records in felony arrests and charges.
Governor Quinn also issued an administrative order to “ban the box,” prohibiting state agencies from asking job applicants about their criminal history before beginning to evaluate the individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities. In 2010 he launched the Summit of Hope events to provide assistance to ex-offenders to help them reintegrate safely into society. Since 2010 nearly 80 events have been held across the state serving over 16,000 ex-offenders.