CHICAGO (CBS) — A new set of laws aims to help people who’ve served prison time find work reports WBBM’s Nancy Harty.

A new state law increases the income tax credit for businesses that hire ex-offenders from $600 to $1500 per employee.

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Companies can take the credit for up to five years on employees hired within three years of their release from prison.

State Senator Patricia Van Pelt there are four million ex-felons ore 40 percent of the adult population in Illinois.

“They know they are not going to get a job, they know they can’t get in school, they can’t even volunteer in a children’s school if you have a criminal record,” said Van Pelt.

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So the West Side Democrat was front and center at the Chicago bill signing that increases the tax credits for businesses that hire ex-felons.

Parker Turner was convicted of burglary in 1982 and says the tough economy is even tougher for people like him.

“We may work for a little while but then you have to sign the papers that say, ‘Do you have a felony?’ and of you don’t put it down then they find out and you are still going to get fired,” said Turner.

Other new laws streamline the process for expunging and sealing criminal records and give judges the options of awarding second chance probation for non-violent offenders.

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Governor Quinn signed the laws that takes effect immediately at a church in the North Lawndale neighborhood, where supporters say 70 percent of the men age 18 to 45 are ex-offenders.