Chicago is the third most-populous city in the United States. Last year, more than 415 people were murdered, the highest number of all American cities. Now the state of Illinois has pushed through what some view as a counter-intuitive idea to curb the violence, a new law that gives juvenile offenders a clean arrest record once they turn 18.
Rian King dreams of becoming a professional rhythm and blues singer. She has a medical billing job and can now afford to rent a recording studio for practice. But several years ago, that all seemed next to impossible. King was arrested when she was 16, but never charged. The incident came to haunt her when she was turned down for a job five years later. She didn’t get the job and had to apply for an expungement, which took six months.
Now, Illinois lawmakers have voted to make this process automatic, wiping clean arrest records for those juveniles who were arrested but never convicted. Supporters say the new law will help fight crime on the streets of Chicago, a city which recorded the highest number of murders in the country last year.
Experts say wiping clean arrest records will give tens of thousands of teenagers a better chance to find work or get into college and stay off the streets. Rian King believes the new law will help prevent arrest records from becoming stumbling blocks on the road to success.
But not everyone supports the idea of a blanket purging of the record. CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reports from Chicago.