Illinois enacts boadest sealing law in Nation

On Fiday Illinois governor Bruce Rauner signed into law what appears to be the broadest sealing law in the United States, covering almost all felonies and requiring a relatively short eligibility waiting period of three years. We expect to provide a more in-depth discussion of the law next week from practitioners working on the ground in the state, and will soon update the Illinois Restoration of Rights Project profile to reflect these important changes.  In the meantime, we share the following from Cabrini Green Legal Aid, which was among the organizations that helped push the legislation through.

This afternoon, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law six pieces of legislation that impact people with arrest and conviction records, including HB 2373 – the sealing expansion bill. This marks the LARGEST expansion of a sealing law in the United States and is a huge win in criminal justice reform. Effective immediately, this new law will provide thousands of people in Illinois the opportunity for criminal records relief by allowing them to petition the court to remove barriers in their lives as a result of their past criminal record. On behalf of our partners with the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI),* Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) appreciates the support and involvement of so many of you who took action making phone calls, sending emails and traveling to Springfield.

We are extremely grateful to the members of the RROCI coalition and CGLA’s Leadership Council and Visible Voices members who had a weekly presence in Springfield throughout the legislative session, using their voices in the halls of the capitol to humanize this issue and lead the effort. We facilitated 56 trips that required 14 hour commitments by the individuals advocating for this bill. Through leadership development, training and support, CGLA’s goal is to engage those who are directly impacted by systemic change to lead advocacy and education around these issues.

This will be a game changer for CGLA. Over the years, we have met thousands of individuals who did not qualify for sealing. Not only can we start saying YES to those seeking a better future, we can begin to spread hope and strengthen the lives of individuals and families throughout Illinois. If you want to be part of this effort, please join us!

Attorneys can volunteer to help us prepare petitions for clients to seal their records and other volunteers can assist with communications to clients needing additional information about new legislation.


Request a presentation from our Leadership Council in your community to help raise awareness about sealing expansion.


Send people to our Help Desk that are now eligible, located at the Daley Center in Room 1006, open Monday through Thursday 9-12 and Thursday afternoon from 1-4. Make sure they obtain a copy of their criminal history reports from the Chicago Police Department (3510 S. Michigan), open 8-12, Monday through Friday. The cost is $16 and they should request their City and Illinois State Police reports.

Thank you again for your support and advocacy on behalf of individuals, families and communities impacted by the collateral consequences of the criminal justice system! Today is indeed, a good day…