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Chicago Conviction Registry Program Is Failing and Turning People Away, Critics Say – NBC Chicago

Once a year, Victor Mojica drives an hour to a brick building in the Burnside neighborhood.

Victor has a past felony conviction and is required to register with the Chicago Police Department.

But the process is not easy.

“Two weeks ago I was waiting for two hours out here only for them to tell us we cannot take care of all of you all,” Mojica said “I was mad cause I drove here.”

A WBEZ report found men are repeatedly being turned away because of staffing shortages in the registry office located at 91st and Cottage Grove.

Patty Casey is a former Chicago Police commander who oversaw the registry until she retired in 2021.

“I think right now, it’s failing,” she said. “Right now it is not fixed to accommodate many registrants and it is short staffed. They (registrants) are being turned away which is not fair to them while they are trying to comply with the law and it is not fair to citizens who are worried about public safety.”

Laurie Jo Reynolds, an associate professor at UIC, says the registry system can hold back people with past convictions who are trying to get their lives back on track.

“What we are doing is taking thousands of people after they served their time – paid their debt and bringing them back to police stations,” Reynolds said. “All of this means police are spending all of this time coping with tens of thousands of re – registrations.

The Chicago Police Department told NBC 5 in a statement that it is in the process of increasing efficiencies at the Criminal Registration Unit as it works to strengthen the criminal registration process. CPD added it is committed to ensuring that those who need to register are able to comply with the law.

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