Legislation Helps Ex-offenders

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation he says will help ex-offenders stay out of prison and get jobs so they can become productive members of society.

The Chicago Democrat says the measures also will give judges and prosecutors more options for sentencing non-violent criminals.

Quinn signed the bills Saturday at a church on Chicago's South Side.

One measure increases a tax credit for employers who hire qualified ex-offenders to $1,500 per employee. It previously was capped at $600.

Another bill creates a "second-chance probation" option for non-violent offenders. It allows a conviction to be cleared from a person's record after successful completion of at least two years of probation.

The other legislation streamlines the process for having criminal records sealed or expunged.

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