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Illinois House Passes Bill to Help Qualified Job Applicants Get Hired

Legislation Would Give Persons with Criminal Records a Fair Chance to Compete

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michelle Nicolet
312.368.2675 

The Illinois House of Representatives took an important step last week to give qualified job applicants who have turned their lives around a chance to sell themselves to an employer and get hired. HB 5701, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, would require private employers in Illinois to consider an applicant’s qualifications for the position before making inquiry into that applicant’s criminal history.

“Banning the box” about criminal history on job applications significantly improves applicants’ chances of getting hired. Studies show that employers who have personal contact with applicants who have criminal records are four times more likely to call them back. Moreover, access to employment significantly reduces recidivism among formerly incarcerated individuals, making communities safer and saving taxpayers millions in corrections costs.

“People who have worked hard to turn their lives around deserve an opportunity to compete in the job market,” said Todd Belcore, lead attorney in the Community Justice Unit at the Shriver Center. “Not only will this bill significantly increase the chance that qualified applicants will get hired, it will also help applicants avoid the indignity of being denied job after job simply for answering honestly and checking a box.”

HB 5701, which was sponsored by Representative Rita Mayfield, passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 63 to 53. The legislation now moves on to committee hearings in the Illinois Senate.


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. Through policy development, advocacy, litigation, consulting, training, and communications, we are building the national capacity of people living in poverty by representing them directly and by supporting and enhancing the capacity of other public interest lawyers who serve them. For more information, visit http://povertylaw.org.


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

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