The implications of these results are significant when set against the backdrop of the American workforce. As highlighted in the article:
Criminal justice experts said the 30.2 percent figure was especially
notable at a time when employers, aided by the Internet, routinely
conduct criminal background checks on job candidates.
The advancement of information technology has lead to background checks becoming more prevalent and thorough than ever before. At a time with a down economy, employers are finding ways to sift through the countless applicants quickly and easily. One of the initial ways of doing so is by casting out applicants with criminal records.
It is troubling to consider that nearly a third of America’s workforce could face major hurdles in future employment. There are a lot of good, talented people out there who can’t find a job right now simply because of a mistake they made as a youth or young adult.
Luckily, in Illinois we have open channels to allow people to move past their criminal history. Most arrests will be eligible to expunge or seal. Even for those that aren’t eligible, there is also the option of executive clemency, which brings with it the possibility of completely wiping one’s record clear. So of the 30.2% that committed offenses in Illinois, many will be able to clear their records and apply for jobs with the confidence that a youthful mistake won’t hold them back.