Removing Invisible Obstacles in the Pathway of Re-Entry

William is a CRS leader who will be directly impacted by HB 5341. He says “this bill will be a tremendous help in my life. As a person with a criminal record, I’m worried about how to pay off the fines, because it’s difficult trying to get employment. But thanks to this bill getting passed, I can look forward to a better life after getting my record sealed. It felt good to speak with legislators in Springfield about how my criminal record was impacting my life and how passing HB 5341 would assist me with being able to obtain employment once my record was sealed.” 

HB 5341, The Fair Access To Employment (F.A.T.E.) bill, will prohibit outstanding legal financial obligations (like fines, fees, and costs) from being considered when a person files to have their record sealed. 

Take Action Now: HB 5341 passed the Illinois General Assembly, and is now on the Governor's desk; tell the Governor to sign this important bill into law

Many men and women in Illinois who’ve been convicted for offenses are often punished with excessive fines and court costs that they’re unable to pay. As a collateral result of those criminal records, they’re unable to obtain employment to pay the legal debt because their criminal record is constantly being used to exclude them from job opportunities. However, once a person’s criminal record is sealed, the possibility of getting hired for a job to support oneself and family significantly increases. 

Curtis is another CRS leader who spoke to legislators in Springfield about HB 5341. He shares, “trying to obtain meaningful employment, get a roof over my head or simply enrolling in school with a criminal record can be like climbing a mountain. It’s a challenge and tiresome, and without strength and support can be discouraging. Once HB 5341 is passed into law, it will remove another barrier that tends to prevent men/women such as myself, from getting our records sealed and becoming productive members of society.” 

Take Action Now: HB 5341 passed the Illinois General Assembly, and is now on the Governor's desk; tell the Governor to sign this important bill into law

Community Renewal Society is part of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI) spearheaded by Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights. RROCI is committed to solutions driven with a community voice and believes that Illinois needs a fair system of justice that recognizes human dignity and that everyone deserves a meaningful future.

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