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New Program Helps Minor Offenders in Illinois

September 20th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Good news came for Illinois residents with a criminal record last month, when Governor Pat Quinn signed into legislation a initiative that allows counties across the state to “start rehabilitation programs for first-time, non-violent offenders patterned after the initiative started by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez last year,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  

According to Gov. Quinn, who gave a news conference to announce the new program, “justice involves your heart and your head,” and people who break the law in a way that doesn’t harm others don’t need prison to be “rehabilitated.” Twenty-three-year-old Philanese Stokes was one of the first people to benefit from the new program, and as she skipped out the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in mid-September she told a reporter from the Sun-Times that her credit card forgery arrest wasn’t a good look, and kept her from getting “one of the 50 jobs she applied to last year.”

In a struggling economy, cutting down on the cost of people in jails, as well as helping people to get jobs by expunging minor offenses from their record, could have staggering effects. The state could save millions of dollars from reducing the number of prisoners alone. According to the John Howard Association of Illinois, Illinois had nearly 50,000 inmates in 2009, and Illinois state taxpayers spent more than $1 billion on state prisons, “with an average cost of almost $25,000 an inmate.”

The Sun-Times reports that the new program has already saved Cook County taxpayers $1.1 million. By mid-September, 645 offenders had been accepted into the program, and 257 fulfilled program requirements.

If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, it’s important to speak with a qualified Illinois state criminal defense attorney immediately. Even with a new program that can wipe a minor offense from your record, it’s best not to have one in the first place. We can help to get your life back on track.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Written by Staff Writer

September 20th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

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