Bans on convicted felons holding certain jobs in Illinois may have to be removed. In a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Restorative Justice committees, civil rights attorney Josh Karsh says several state laws with employment bans for former felons wouldn’t hold up in court. “The first is the Illinois School Code, the second is the Park District Code, the third is the Metropolitan Transit Act, and the fourth is the Healthcare Worker Background Check Act,” Karsh said.
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“All four are illegal because all four have provisions that impose a lifetime ban on employing people with convictions.”
Under those laws, some felonies would disqualify a person for life from holding jobs with schools, park districts, public transit, or in health care. Those felonies range from drug possession to soliciting a prostitute to sexual assault.
State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) feels these laws encourage recidivism in the criminal justice system, but says lawmakers aren’t trying to force employers to offer jobs to ex-felons.
“What we’re talking about here today is not a mandate to hire people with criminal records,” Cassidy said.
Lawmakers on the committees indicated new legislation regarding these bans could be introduced in the coming year.