Governor Rauner Signs Bill to Give Former Offenders a Brighter Future

DECATUR –(ENEWSPF)—August 25, 2016.  Governor Bruce Rauner today signed legislation to allow those with certain felony convictions to apply to work in health care professions after a post-conviction waiting period.

“We have clear goals in Illinois: reduce crime overall, reduce prison populations, reduce recidivism and help those who have paid for their crime find a positive path in life after serving their sentence,” said Governor Rauner. “Unfortunately we hear stories like Lisa Creason’s often. There are too many people who have served their time and turned their lives around only to be punished by hurdles that prevent them from finding a good paying job. Finding and keeping a job is the best antidote to going back to prison, and this new law will make it easier to do just that.”

Decatur resident and mother of three, Lisa Creason, will benefit from the new law. Creason, who hopes to be a registered nurse, does not qualify for a license under current law because she served time for a felony committed more than twenty years ago.

“The signing of Senate Bill 42 into law lifts lifelong restrictions and allows individuals to be financially self-sufficient and not dependent on government,” said Lisa Creason.

Senate Bill 42 provides a health care worker who has been convicted of a forcible felony–other than a felony requiring registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act or involuntary sexual servitude of a minor–and whose license was revoked or denied, may petition the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to restore the license if more than 5 years have passed since the conviction or more than 3 years have passed since the health care worker’s release from confinement for that conviction, whichever is later.

This legislation provides that the Department may also consider other evidence of rehabilitation, along with any voluntary remedial actions taken by the health care worker, when determining whether a license shall be restored.

“I applaud this legislation.  The bill will allow offenders who have completed their sentence and clearly demonstrated their commitment to making a positive contribution to Illinois to work in an area of study that they are trained and licensed in,” said John Baldwin, Illinois Department of Corrections Acting Director.  “This legislation will bring Illinois in line with most states on the issue of rehabilitation and recidivism.”

“As the state’s regulator for licensed professionals, we are committed to creating viable licensure pathways for qualified individuals,” said Bryan A. Schneider, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Secretary.  “With the enactment of this new law, IDFPR will have the flexibility to consider the totality of applicants’ qualifications and experiences, not ignoring their criminal background but balancing it with evidence of their rehabilitation.  This regulatory revision provides a common sense approach for applicants that may have otherwise been prevented health care licensure in the past while still allowing our team to consider appropriate concerns for public health and safety.”

Source: www.illinois.gov