Gov. Quinn grants Christmas Eve clemency

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Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday granted 38 people clemency, allowing each the opportunity to seek expungement of past crimes that have become barriers to future job opportunities.

Most of the requests Quinn approved involve people convicted of drug offenses. But crimes range from theft to forgery, said Ken Tupy, a spokesman for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Tupy said all but one of the crimes were non-violent offenses and none of the grantees are currently behind bars. 

Quinn also denied 129 requests on Tuesday.

Tupy defined clemency as “official forgiveness for the commission of a crime.” 

Those who received clemency are people who have “changed their lives after serving their sentences and have proven they deserve a second chance, but continue to be hounded by convictions while trying to apply for jobs,” said Tupy.

Clemency allows each petitioner to seek expungement of a conviction through the court system.

Each person underwent a criminal background check before being granted clemency, Tupy noted.

Quinn has acted on 2,815 clemency petitions, granting 1,032 and denying 1,783, since taking office, according to a news release from Quinn’s office.

Quinn grants clemency to batches of people three or four times a year, with one installment always coming around the holiday season. 

He makes his decision after receiving confidential recommendations from the 15-member Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

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