New Sims-sponsored law now seals records for certain nonviolent offenders

2013-08-15T19:45:00Z 2013-08-15T22:42:05Z New Sims-sponsored law now seals records for certain nonviolent offendersTimes Staff
August 15, 2013 7:45 pm  • 

CHICAGO | A measure sponsored by state Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, will give those convicted of nonviolent felonies a second chance, according to a news release.

The new law adds theft, retail theft, forgery, possession of burglary tools, deceptive practices and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver to the list of offenses now eligible for record sealing.

"According to statistics, nearly 3 million men and women throughout Illinois are denied the opportunity to make a decent wage for their families because of a mistake made at one point in their life," Sims said in a prepared statement. "This often leads to a life of crime and poverty. It is my hope that this new law will give individuals a chance to start fresh."

When the offenses are sealed, it locks the records away without destroying them. Prior to this law, the only felony conviction records to be sealed were drug possession or prostitution. Sealing can begin four years after the end of a person's last sentence. Those looking to seal a drug offense would be required to pass a drug test within the 30 days before filing a petition.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

State agencies including law enforcement, schools and child service providers will continue to have access to records for potential employees.

Sims represents portions of the South Side, several south suburbs and portions of Will and Kankakee counties.

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