Repeal Belleville's crime-free ordinance

September 19, 2013 

I read that the Belleville City Council passed a crime-free ordinance and my blood is boiling.

My mother owns a three-unit property in Belleville. Besides being elderly, she lives in Murphysboro and will have to make a trip to Belleville to attend the class.

It is unreasonable to charge a fee for each unit. She already has to pay for a city inspection each time she rents a unit. It is unreasonable that she should have to pay for a criminal background check on top of it.

Second, if a person commits a crime, pays his debt to society and is subsequently released from probation or prison, why is he still being punished? That is not right.

My son was born and raised in Belleville. He is in prison because he stole from us to support a heroin habit. When he is released he will have completed two-plus years of drug treatment through the Department of Corrections. He should be able to return to his home town and live. This ordinance could prohibit that.

Why is public housing exempt? Public housing will just be full of the former criminals that the city wishes to keep out of Belleville. It does not make sense on so many levels.

In Illinois, felons have their voting rights restored automatically at discharge. If they have the right to vote, they should be able to reside at a residence of their choice. This ordinance should be repealed before it is implemented.

Susanne L. Dashner


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