After 30 years of providing direct services to people with criminal records, Safer Foundation began to formally advocate on behalf of its clients with an emphasis on removing policy and legislative barriers to employment.
Reducing Legislative Barriers
Safer bases its interest in and commitment to this area of work on the recognition that a variety of policy and legislative obstacles exist that obstruct the successful return of people with criminal records to their communities. Safer has come to understand that policies such as these may unwittingly encourage recidivism and reduce opportunities for self-sufficiency.
Safer’s overarching advocacy goals are: 1) to increase community awareness of the barriers faced by people with criminal records, 2) to build a broad based coalition to work towards eliminating or reducing these barriers, and 3) to provide a voice and a vehicle for participation by the people most impacted by these policies.
Success with SB 1050
In 2009, Safer Foundation supported General Assembly Senate Bill 1050. Spearheaded by primary sponsors Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, SB 1050 contains amendments and expansion of legislation concerning Certificates of Relief from Disability (for occupational licensing) and Certificates of Good Conduct (for general employment and reputation).
Under SB 1050, which became law January 1, 2010, the pool of eligible offenses for Certificates has been vastly increased to include any offense less than a Class X felony that did not result in "great bodily harm or permanent disability," which is not a post-sentence registration offense (sex, arson, etc), aggravated DUI or aggravated domestic battery. Everything else is eligible with not more than two felonies.
Protestants for the Common Good also worked for a provision in SB 1050 that requires the Department of Professional Regulation to provide free-of-charge, non-binding advisory opinion for people with criminal records who wish - before embarking upon the substantial investment of obtaining a license - first to obtain the Department's guidance regarding whether their criminal record is a dispositive bar to obtaining a license.
In order to make headway in reducing recidivism in Illinois, Safer Foundation formed the Council of Advisors to Reduce Recidivism through Employment (CARRE) in 2001. MORE >
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