ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- If you get in trouble with the law it's rare to get a second chance, but State's Attorney Joe Bruscato wants to give first-time offenders a get out of jail free pass starting January 1.
It would only be for people who have never been in trouble before and it would only be for non-violent crimes like theft, forgery and damage to property. The idea is to give people a chance to clean up their act before they get a permanent record. Those who are eligible for the program would have to pay for it. Bruscato says he expects four hundred people to sign up the first year. Last year the same program had a 77 percent success rate in Kane County.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said, "The first priority of this is to give individuals a second chance so they avoid a criminal record. they have some impact to what they've done so they recognize the seriousness of it, but it gives them an opportunity in life to continue on without that criminal record."
However, the program isn't just a free ride. In addition to paying a fee applicants will have to do community service, complete counseling or get their high school diploma or GED in order to avoid being charged with a crime. While it may decrease the jail population slightly, the real goal is to intervene before people commit more serious crimes.