Expungement is now the law for the arrest records of many juveniles. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the “Clean Slate” bill into law. It requires automatic expungement of the arrest records of juveniles once they turn 18 if that arrest did not result in criminal charges, if there was no conviction or if there was a conviction for a minor offense, and if there are no subsequent arrests.
“We do believe in the opportunity of having a clean slate. We don’t want something hanging over another person’s life that harms their ability to get a scholarship or a job, an opportunity to go forward in life, get into a school, and so it’s very important we address this issue,” the governor said.
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A juvenile arrest record can be a hurdle in the areas of education, scholarship applications, employment and housing. Previously, juveniles with arrest records could petition the court for expungement, but few did: Illinois has about 20,000 juvenile arrests each year; many of the subjects would be eligible for expungement, but typically only about 400 would complete the process.
State Police will have the automatic expungement process in operation by the middle of next year.
The sponsors of the bill, State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Arthur Turner Jr. (D-Chicago), last week held a press conference with the mayor of Chicago urging the governor to sign this bill.