How many people in the United States have some sort of criminal record?
B. 4.45 million
C. 12 million
D. 70 million
It seems like an astonishingly high number, but the correct answer is D. In Illinois alone, that figure is over 3.9 million men and women — that’s more than 30 percent of the population!
These sobering statistics have a devastating impact on our economy. A 2011 study found that putting just 100 formerly incarcerated people back to work would increase their lifetime earnings by $55 million and their tax contributions by $1.9 million.
But even people who have been convicted of a crime without serving time in prison face major roadblocks finding work.
There’s good news, however. In August, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into a law a bill that expands the types of felony convictions that people can seal (or hide) from public view and potential employers. That doesn’t mean law enforcement can’t see these offenses (it’s different from expungement, which erases the conviction).
Whether or not you qualify varies, but here’s a general list of crimes that now qualify to be sealed.
• Convictions for most misdemeanors, except driving offenses, domestic battery, violation of an order of protection, sexual offenses and animal crimes.
• Convictions for these Class 3 Felonies:
Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance
• Convictions for these Class 4 felonies:
Possession of Cannabis
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Possession of Burglary Tools
Offenses under the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act
Remember, sealing a conviction can be frustrating. But with a little patience and perseverance, it can really improve your life. You can start right now, by completing this worksheet. We can help with every step.