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Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2023) – Considering the Biden-Harris Administration’s recent announcement that it is working to improve pathways to entrepreneurship for people with records by eliminating Small Business Administration (SBA) capital program restrictions for Americans who have completed their sentences, Carson Whitelemons, Director of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures, issued the following statement:

We commend the SBA for reforming its loan criteria and standardizing guidance across lending programs when it comes to criminal histories. The SBA guaranteed more than $44.7 billion in loans in 2021 alone and serves as a particularly important lender for disadvantaged communities. However, prior to these changes, the SBA’s capital programs had a complex web of restrictions for individuals with criminal records. 

Arnold Ventures supports efforts to address the severe and long-lasting collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. We believe that a criminal record should not result in a life of poverty, and that finding solutions that work to advance second chances will strengthen our communities. As the SBA implements these changes, we look forward to following implementation and supporting research on the role of reintegration reforms in promoting economic mobility for people with criminal records, along with their families and their communities.” 

Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States. It is a team of more than 120 subject-matter experts headquartered in Houston with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. It works in five key issue areas: Criminal Justice, Education, Health, infrastructure, and Public Finance. Its work is guided by Evidence-Based Policy, Research, and Advocacy.