Illinois lawmakers lighten regulations for job hunting with criminal record

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CHICAGO (AP) - Opportunities long closed to Illinois residents with criminal records are beginning to open as employers seek new sources of talent and lawmakers bet that gainful employment will reduce recidivism.  

The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois lawmakers have changed licensing laws to make at least 100 occupations more accessible to people with a criminal background. The state has also expanded the types of convictions that can be sealed and therefore hidden from most employers.
  
More than 27,000 people left Illinois prisons last year, and more than 50,000 were released from Cook County jail. Many people who get released return to neighborhoods that have high rates of violence and little economic opportunity.
  
Advocates say the sense of purpose a career gives is what can make people with criminal records such quality employees.

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