Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Chicago's Champions for Ex-offenders!

Below are champions for the ex-offender community in Chicago and indeed around the country. These men and women have and continue to use their voice, resources, intellect and power to create change in Chicago's often left out and downtrodden community i.e. ex-offenders. These men and women in this article are the true voices of the ex-offenders. Not only have they pushed programs but they've also pushed real change through legislation. Every ex-offender in the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois should thank the men and women below for their service in making their lives better by providing them a second chance.

Congressman Danny K Davis: Sponsored the bipartisan Second Chance Act of 2007 (HR1593). House of Representatives passes Second Chance Act 11/13/2007. Senate passes Second  Chance Act 3/11/2008. Sent to White House for signature of President 3/11/2008. President signs Second Chance Act 4/9/2008. Congressman Danny K. Davis has also sponsored countless expungement summits for ex-offenders.

The Honorable Dorothy Brown: As clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, the Honorable Dorothy Brown has sponsored countless Expungement Summits and Ex-offender Job Information Seminars for adult and juveniles. Her expungement seminars has helped thousands of people get their rap sheet/criminal history, sealing of felonies, expungement waiver fees, etcetera. Mrs. Brown continues to use the office of the Cook County Circuit Court as a conduit for bettering the lives of all in Cook County, and especially our ex-offender community. 

Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx: Although the Honorable Kim Foxx is newly elected to her position she's doing some amazing things for ex-offenders in Chicago and Cook County. Foxx has vowed to [expunge] all misdemeanor pot convictions. She's also pushing for full legalization of marijuana/cannabis. Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx has joined legendary rapper Jay-Z's newly formed organization "REFORM Alliance", which addresses criminal justice reform in probation and parole. 

St. Rep. LaShawn K. Ford: The Honorable LaShawn Ford has sponsored countless expungement seminars. He's also sponsored a number of bills in the Illinois House of Representatives as it relates to sealing records of ex-offenders. His sponsored bill HB3061 indeed gives ex-offenders a second chance at life. Here's what HB3061 does ⇒ amends the Criminal Identification Act. Allows a person to petition the court and the court to order the sealing of: (1) Class 2 felony conviction records for burglary, delivery of a controlled substance, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle; (2) Class 3 felony conviction records for theft, retail theft, deceptive practices, and forgery; and (3) Class 4 felony conviction records for possession of cannabis, possession of a controlled substance, violation of the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, violation of the Steroid Control Act, prostitution, theft, retail theft, deceptive practices, forgery, and possession of burglary tools (rather than only Class 4 felony convictions for possession of cannabis, possession of a controlled substance, Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, Steroid Control Act, and prostitution). The sealing is allowed 4 years after termination of the person's last sentence. Requires a person petitioning to seal a drug offense to pass a drug test within the 30 days preceding the filing of the petition to seal.

Professor Benny Lee: As founder of the National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated, the Honorable Benneth Lee has helped thousands near and far change their lives. His award winning organization helps ex-offenders with voter registration, recidivism, re-entry into society, resume and job applications. The NAEFI has meetings on Saturdays. Please research their organization for more information. 

The Honorable Willie Wilson: Not only is he a multimillionaire philanthropist, but the Rev. Dr. Willie Wilson has also used his influence, resources and money to assist nonviolent ex-offenders and offenders with bail money, or funds to restart their lives when released from prison. Dr. Willie  Wilson was the driving force behind the 2017 state law that reformed a cash bail system that penalized poor defendants. The Reform Bail Act bill was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner during a June, 2017 ceremony at the Chicago Baptist Institute International where Wilson was an invited guest. In essence, Dr. Wilson's "Good Samaritan Bond Pilot Project" became state law "Public Act 100-0001" which made cash bail unnecessary for those charged with nonviolent misdemeanors and low-level felonies that include prostitution, DUI, drug possession and theft and established alternatives, including electronic home monitoring, counseling, curfews and in-person reporting. If a judge sets a cash bond that the defendant can’t meet, a rehearing must be held within seven days, all thanks to Dr. Willie Wilson. Ex-offenders in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois have Dr. Willie Wilson to thank for bail reform!

There you have it my friends. The aforementioned people are by far doing some serious work for ex-offenders. There are also employment organizations that are helping nonviolence ex-offenders obtain jobs, the Chicago Transit Authority is one of them. If you are a nonviolent ex-offender and you desire to work for the CTA please click below link:
https://www.transitchicago.com/secondchance/

As activists, organizers, and politicians continue to fight for criminal justice and mass incarceration reform, all we ask of you is to stay off street corners selling drugs, stop robbing our seniors and please stop all involvement in sex trafficking of our daughters.

You owe it to yourself and your community to do better. If not, then all of our work will be in vain. We're doing our part, it's on you to do yours! We're here to help you stand on your two feet as a wo/man! We're here to help you get your GED, Certification, Vocational Training, College Degree, but you have to want it as well. You must be willing to put in the work, if so...we got you!

Written By: 
Jim Allen