From Illinois Public Radio - News Local/State -

Military Service Could Give Felons Chance for Clean Slate

Felons who serve in the military may get an opportunity to have their criminal records wiped clean under a measure approved by the Illinois House.

The Illinois legislature debates a lot of measures intended to give criminals a second chance, but they are usually introduced by Democrats from Chicago.

However, this time Mike Bost, a Republican from Murphysboro, is behind the effort. Long before he was a State Representative, Bost was a Marine.

"I was an electronic specialist,” Bost said. “Repaired radars that deal with tactical air control units. And two of the guys that worked there with me were there because a judge said, son, you got two choices and neither one's in my county."

Bost said one of the people working with him was from South Florida. He said the man told him about how he was once arrested for poaching alligators, and wound up in the county jail.

Bost said that was back when criminals could go into the military to avoid serving time in prison. Now, the Republican proposes a sort of reverse.

If a felon gets out of prison, is accepted into the military, and receives an honorable discharge, Bost proposes making that felon eligible to get his criminal record expunged.

He said if someone is willing to put his life on the line to serve his country, it is a sign h ha's turned his life around.

This measure got a mix of Republican and Democratic support in the Illinois House, and won approval on a 67-to-41 vote. It now heads to the Senate.