Faith & Criminal Justice


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.

For over 40 years, Samuel DeWitt Proctor was a towering figure in the fight for the freedom of African Americans. He would have been proud of what the Chicago organization that bears his name was able to accomplish recently.

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

Decriminalize marijuana? The fact that over 70 municipalities have already done so may be one of the best-kept secrets in Illinois. Two years ago, PCG staff noticed a one-paragraph story in the Chicago Tribune stating that Chicago Heights had decriminalized low levels of cannabis. We decided to gather data on how many other municipalities had taken the same action.

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.

On Sunday, I witnessed an arrest. I had just returned to Chicago from a trip to St. Louis and the heat in the city was blistering. My apartment does not have air conditioning, and, with a heat index in the triple digits, I decided to take my dog down for a walk on the shore so that we could both find some relief in the coolness of the lake breeze. As I rounded the corner of my building, I saw blue lights in the alley--lots of blue lights.

Acts of political courage are not all that common these days. That's why County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's presence at a rally in downtown Chicago last Friday calling for an “End to the War on Drugs” was a singular event.

Attorneys General and States Attorneys across the nation must think they’ve been given special selective powers by the post-resurrection Jesus.

Chicago, IL: Just recently Governor Quinn signed the legislation to repeal the death penalty into law. Attend this workshop to find out the position of the Catholic Church, learn about the church’s active role in passing the legislation, and receive important information on how to educate others on this crucial issue. The workshop costs $10 and registration is required. Contact the Congregation of St. Joseph at 708-482-5042 for more information and to RSVP.

The so-called War on Drugs has turned the United States into a “prisoner nation” with horrendous consequences for African Americans. Pam Rodriquez, head of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) served as staff director of the Disproportionate Justice Impact Commission Report, mandated two years ago by the Illinois General Assembly.


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