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Currently, Illinois law only permits the sealing of nonviolent misdemeanor offenses and only three Class 4 felonies (possession of marijuana and controlled substances, and prostitution). Because so many offenses cannot be sealed, it is unlikely that most ex-offenders would ever be permitted to fully integrate back into society by being given a chance to work, to improve their education, or to have access to safe affordable housing. more

Good Grass

The Lord made man steward over creation and our new understanding calls for an acknowledgement that THC is good medicine, but that shouldn’t be surprising because, “God saw that it was good.” more

Criminal Justice Public Hearing

We hear a lot of rhetoric about strengthening the middle class or moving people from poverty to gainful employment, but we don’t hear anything about giving people with criminal records the opportunity to do the same. more

What is really needed, now, are game-changing ideas and solutions brought to bear on what we currently understand as drug policy. The general public must recognize that our drug policies do not necessarily address addiction as a disease for which there are successful standards of treatment with reasonably high, as well as cost- effective, cure rates. more

17th State to Legalize Marijuana

Connecticut Governor, Dan Malloy, just signed into action a bill that will enable patients to obtain medicinal marijuana from certified pharmacists. This makes Connecticut the 17th state in the U.S. to legalize the drug in some form. What’s next for Illinois? more

The 2012 Sealing Bill

HB 5723 would enhance the current law by making the additional nonviolent offenses sealable on petition in the Circuit Court after 4 years from release, where there has been no further contact with the criminal justice system. more

Housing and Human Rights

Sen. Kwame Raoul has built on the advances made in the sealing and expungement legislation of the past several years by introducing SB3488. more

2011 Criminal Justice Reforms

“What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” With Micah 6:8 as the framework, Walter Boyd, Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives, provides a summary of several criminal justice bills that have brought some positive changes for persons in the criminal justice system. more

This Is Good Policy

Prior to August 19, 2011, if a person’s RAP sheet consisted only of an arrest with no convictions s/he could petition the court to have the arrest[s] expunged, but if s/he had one conviction or more, any subsequent arrest that did not lead to a conviction could not be expunged/sealed from the person’s RAP sheet. This scenario has led to barriers in housing, employment, and educational opportunities for thousands of people based on misleading and/or misinterpreted RAP sheets. more

Abolish the Death Penalty

Illinois is just one signature away from becoming the 16th state without the death penalty. The General Assembly passed SB 3539 to repeal the death penalty on January 11, 2011. Now the legislation is awaiting final approval from Governor Quinn. more

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.