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. 

Long before he was a State Representative, Mike Bost was a Marine.

BOST: “I was an electronic specialist.  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 – who’s from Murphysboro, in Southern Illinois – says one of them was from South Florida.

BOST: “He had a southern drawl worse than mine … And I asked him – his nickname was Hawk – ‘Hawk, what are you doing in and why are you in for six years?’ and he said ‘Oh, Mike, I got a great taste for alligator tail.  I was out in the swamps and I was poaching alligators and I got caught one night and got drug into the county jail.”

Bost says 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.

The Illinois legislature debates a lot of measures intended to give criminals a second chance – but they’re usually introduced by Democrats from Chicago. That Bost is a Republican  Southern Illinois wasn’t lost on one of those Chicago Democrats – Representative Will Davis – as heard in this exchange:

DAVIS: “So when there have been expungement bills that have come through here before – do you remember how you might have voted on some of those?”

BOST: “Yeah, I didn’t vote for them.”

DAVIS: So what do you think was wrong with those bills that all of a sudden, we should support this one?”

BOST: “I didn’t necessarily agree with the litmus test.”

This measure got a mix of Republican and Democratic support  – and won approval on a 67 to 41 vote.

Bost says if someone’s willing to put his life on the line to serve his country, it’s a sign he’s turned his life around.

– Amanda Vinicky.

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3 Responses to Military Service Could Give Felons Chance For Clean Slate

  1. Giovanni Lee Santiago says:

    Im a felon 23 years old my record is just one burglary i drop my id at the house i was 18 i served my full time im hearing that i can’t join no military i wanna join i do to who ever gets this please help me in anyway i want something in my life i need help with this check me out in the data base give me a chance i like action i can obey orders i love adventure please i live in new York im in Brooklyn queens I’ll talk to who’s ever in charge i just want a chance I’ll do anything. Thanks to ever reads this. Hope there’sa way for me .

  2. J Holder says:

    I feel your pain Giovanni. I too, got in trouble when I was younger for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. First time getting in trouble. It is a 3rd degree felony in Florida where I live. I am also a college graduate with a 3.45 GPA. I even had a Navy recruiter who came with me to court to try to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges and in return I will enlist in the military. The recruiter told me he wanted to try to help me because 17 years ago prior to him enlisting he was in the same situation and a recruiter helped him out and he said it changed his life for the better and that he is forever thankful for that recruiter that saved his life from crime. I on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. The prosecutor didn’t care and didn’t believe in second chances. All she wanted to do was convict me. Judge decided to withheld adjudication so technically I was never convicted of the offense, but the military and employers still look at me as if I am a convicted felon. I am now 25 and it’s so hard for me to find a job that pays over 8.50 an hr if I even get a job. I feel like my life is doomed for depression and poverty since the US and it’s society doesn’t believe in second chances anymore. At least I haven’t found any evidence of it. I feel like there is a chance one day that I could be homeless due to this felony and not being able to find a descent paying job. My dream was to become an Air Force Officer. My dream is now nothing but a dream. My life has become my nightmare. I now dream about dieing. I honestly dont want to live anymore, but fight off my suicidal thoughts as much as possible. I do believe in a after life and feel like suicide will just make things worse for me. So I just think about the day that I get sick or something and just let nature take it’s course on me. I hope you can find a second chance Giovanni. I will never in my life commit another crime. Even if I do become homeless I will stay on a straight path so when I am in front of God himself I will show him and everyone who doubted me that someone who becomes a felon can change their life around and become good citizens. It’s not us felons that have an issue. It’s society that does. I just hope God can work through people and have this whole felony thing corrected. It’s a horrible system and it does nothing but destroy lives and the lives of people who are related to the felon. Martin Luther King had his dream. My dream is to see that Felons can one day have that awful label taken off them and be considered a human being and given a second chance in this world to make this world a better place. A lot of us learn from our first mistake, but it’s society that gives most felons no option but to turn back to crime to survive. God Bless you Giovanni and to all felons out there who are trying to find that second chance in your life. Were all chasing redemption. Sadly our lives are in the hands of our political leaders to give us that second chance. No matter what happens. We must always keep our head up and do the best we can to be good people and not go back to what got us in trouble. Oh and funny thing about my case and the military is that Colorado and Washington can now start really big businesses with marijuana and it’s no problem and I will suffer for the rest of my life for the same thing that Colorado and Washington is now doing. Except Colorado and Washington will be doing it on a much LARGER scale than I ever did. Got to love how this world works..

  3. Brian says:

    I would love to join to. But I have felonys on record when I was young and dumb.

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