Rita Allison felt hopeless.
Allison admits that she made some bad
choices in her early 20’s, including committing felony retail theft. The
offense ultimately led to a conviction, and Allison, now 55, says she has been
unable to find steady employment since then due to her criminal record.
resident had been employed in the medical records field for years. But
Allison said she got that job based on her resume, and
didn’t have to provide a criminal history. However, things began to
change for her in 2009, when she began looking for new work. Allison told
Progress Illinois she was continually passed over for a number of jobs due to her felony record. Her husband, a veteran, receives a pension, but Allison
says it isn’t enough to survive. As a result, she has gone without additional income for a period of time, causing her, Allison says, to lose her apartment.
an upcoming event in Chicago might help Allison and others in her
position. The Second Chance Summit, being held September 7 at the
University of Illinois-Chicago Forum, will educate those with non-violent class three or four felony
convictions on how to get the crimes expunged from their records. Legal volunteers from
organizations including the Wiley Resource Center and Cabrini Green Legal Aid
will provide free guidance, and members from the Urban Weatherization
Initiative, an organization that trains Illinois residents to work in
the green industry, will also be on hand to sign up participants for