Peoria area State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth said she will hold a second expungement summit for people trying to gain full access to better jobs. But she feels changes are needed. Gordon Booth said too often women and minorities are denied expungement because of high fees and fines keeping them trapped into poverty.
"There was a woman who was leveraged a fee of $750 dollars for singing in the street," she said.
Gordon-Booth said fines and fees leveraged during her first expungement summit last year were largely targeted towards women and minorities. When they could not afford to pay those fees she said expungement was denied.
Now she has a new plan in a new proposal, Fair Access to Employment Bill.
"We don't want to give people false hope. We don't want to invite people to a summit, have lawyers spending their time and energy working on people's cases only to have those cases held up because of fines and fees that we know are discriminatory," she said.
Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said he's heard similar stories from inmates.
"It's this system of oppression. These are decent people that want to be productive members of society and we're holding them back," he said.
Gordon-Booth's bill would allow people who meet criteria to get expungment and pay their fees. Bartonville Police Chief Brian Fengel says it's the right thing to do.
"It only makes common sense that we get this. One of the things that I want to reiterate it's for all people and your fines do not go away," he said.
Gordon-Booth said state's attorneys in other counties have been willing to waive the fees and fines for people seeking expungement. Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady said he would also be willing to consider community service as an option for waiving fees and fines.
Gordon-Booth said her Fair Access to Employment bill is in the house for debate. If you are interested in signing up for the July 21st. Expungement Summit go to face book: Jehan Gordon-Booth Peoria Expungement Summit.