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A criminal record should not result in a life sentence to poverty or the inability of a person to care for themself and their family, and move forward. We support policies that will allow people to clear their records, reduce barriers to successful reintegration, and eliminate the severe and long-lasting collateral consequences of a criminal conviction.

As a result of decades of failed policies, today one in three adults has a criminal record, and many struggle to escape the collateral consequences and stigma that follow them long after they have served their sentence. A dense web of legal restrictions tied to criminal justice involvement serve as enduring punishments that keep people from finding a job, earning a degree, supporting themselves and their families, participating in civic life, or accessing other basic human needs. These hurdles are particularly high in communities of color, which already suffer from discrimination and disproportionately high rates of arrest, conviction, and incarceration.

Eliminating obstacles to economic mobility and redemption by removing policy barriers to employment, housing, education, and civic engagement will help communities most harmed by crime and incarceration thrive — and strengthen public safety. That’s why we’re supporting advocates working toward state and federal policy changes and helping to change the narrative and elevate the voices of people with criminal records; accelerate community-based programs that support successful reintegration; and expand inclusive hiring policies and practices.

Image: Courtesy of Phoebe Jones and The Fortune Society

1 in 3
Number of Americans who have a criminal record, often for minor crimes
Amount of economic loss due to barriers to employment
Rate of unemployment for people who were formerly incarcerated, worse than unemployment during the Great Depression
Number of restrictions on jobs, housing, voting, education, and other rights for formerly incarcerated people