Despite the fact that cannabis is decriminalized in twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia, the Last Prisoner Project estimates that there are 40,000 cannabis inmates in the country today. Nearly 600,000 individuals were imprisoned for cannabis offenses in 2017, and despite broad legalization, cannabis arrests are on the rise in various areas throughout the country. Furthermore, re-entry into the job market is a major problem for previously imprisoned people. Therefore, released inmates have a tough time finding and keeping work following re-entry. Additionally, due to residential instability, previously imprisoned people may end up homeless after being released since strict housing laws make it more difficult for them to find stable housing.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that her office has expunged more than 15,000 non-violent possession cannabis convictions over the past three years. When cannabis use became legalized in Illinois in 2020, Foxx worked to bring relief to individuals who had paid their debt to society by removing past convictions from their records. Having a clean record can help these individuals with employment and housing opportunities.