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To: State of Illinois General Assembly
The purpose of this petition is to encourage the passing of Illinois House Bill 2475, an act concerning human rights, blanket restrictions based on conviction record. The bill states that unless otherwise authorized by law, it is a civil rights violation for any employer, employment agency, or labor organization to refuse to hire a qualified ex-offender solely because the qualified ex-offender has previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses, or by reason of a finding of lack of good moral character when the finding is based solely upon the fact that the qualified ex-offender has previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses, with three explicit exceptions.

There are several reasons that this particular bill would prove beneficial to the economic needs of our disadvantaged communities with regards to personal acquiring stable income.

1. There have recently been an overwhelming number of articles and stories done on Illinois unemployment statistics and crime rate correlations. As an example, in 2008 the South Shore neighborhoods nine of ten African American men between the ages 16 to 55 were not legally employed as a main source of income. Eight of the nine unemployed residents were ex-offenders, and within five years of their most previous release from penal custody, committed crimes of economic disparity. This trend continues throughout Illinoiss economically disadvantaged neighborhoods due to the fact that ex-offenders are over looked for reasonable employment opportunities. Passing this bill would aide in solving recidivism by getting those ex-offenders who are eligible into the economic system in a more time-efficient manner.

2. It costs the people of Illinois a great deal of money each year in taxes to pay for prisons and the well being of prisoners. Passing this bill would cut down on the cost of maintaining prisons due to the simple fact that less prisoners would be re-incarcerated in the system over time, meaning there would be less prisoners in a facility at one time to pay for.

3. The families of ex-offenders suffer just as much if not more than the ex-offenders themselves. Ex-offenders are unable to help in supporting their families while they are unemployed. They are desire to work, but the opportunities are few and often not substantial enough to adequately provide for their home to help with the bills and survival. This forces more families to live in government-funded housing and receive assistance such as TANF and Food Stamps, costing the state more money. By getting those eligible ex-offenders out of the system and equal employment opportunities at a faster rate, families would have a better chance of surviving on their own rather than receiving government assistance.


Notice that throughout this proposal, I have mentioned the word eligible in describing the ex-offenders. I am not suggesting that all ex-offenders receive blanket restrictions based on conviction record. I completely agree that some ex-offenders may not be deserving of blanket restrictions. However, those ex-offenders who remain 7 years free by observing all laws, working efficiently voluntarily to improve their communities, and taking educational courses to better themselves should be awarded the opportunity to equal employment opportunities in a timelier manner and have a chance to redeem themselves in the outside world.

Please pass Illinoiss House Bill 2475 an act concerning human rights, blanket restrictions based on conviction record, not only as a benefit to struggling ex-offenders and their families, but also to the State of Illinois.


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Patrice ShepardBy:
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Illinois 96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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