Statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Legislative Approval of Juvenile Expungement Reform

I am grateful for the bipartisan support given to our major legislative initiative this spring, reform of the process for expunging juvenile arrest records. I want to particularly thank Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Sen. Michael Hastings for sponsoring the bill in their respective chambers and helping steer them to passage. The Youth Opportunity and Fairness Act is an important step toward removing barriers from the paths of our most vulnerable youth as they try to build productive lives. It is time Illinois recognizes that the arrest records of young people who have made mistakes can serve as impediments to their future growth and development -- and can even create obstacles to such basics as finding housing and employment as they get older. We know that young people often make bad decisions, but those decisions need not mar them for life. I also want to thank the advocacy community for their support on behalf of this important juvenile justice measure, and last but certainly not least, I am grateful to Leader Durkin for his efforts on behalf of this bill. I urge Gov. Rauner to sign it.