Sen. Hunter helps former offenders re-enter society

040516CM0238CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter passed legislation in the Illinois Senate to extend the time former offenders have to restore their lives.


“People who have served time and corrected their wrongs shouldn’t have only a month to restart their lives. This bill makes it easier for people to get back on their feet,” said Hunter (D-Chicago).


Many formerly convicted residents face a short 30-day window to find housing, transportation and employment. Former convictions often can lock people out of housing and job opportunities.

Under current law, the timing requirements for former offenders who have successfully completed probation under the statue is very tight.


Senate Bill 2601 extends the 30-day timeframe to 60 days following a successful discharge from probation.


The measure does not expand eligibility for the designated program nor does it reduce requirements for vacation of conviction.


Hunter also co-sponsored Senate Bill 2465, which repeals Illinois’ requirement for former offenders to reimburse the Department of Corrections for expenses they incurred during their incarceration.


In 2014, Hunter created a law that gave law-abiding former offenders the opportunity to ask courts to seal the records of minor offenses that happened over three years ago.


“We should not let people’s past mistakes ruin their chances for gainful employment. When former offenders can’t find a legal means to support themselves, they turn to crime,” said Hunter when her 2014 bill became law.


Senate Bill 2601 passed the Senate 52-0 and is now in the House for further consideration.


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