Each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Yet too often, they leave prison with few resources, practical skills, or the support they need to successfully reintegrate into society. They are released with the deck stacked against them, on a path that leads to a revolving door back to prison.
That’s why in November, President Obama traveled to Newark, New Jersey to announce new actions to help formerly-incarcerated Americans – who have paid their debt to society – successfully find a job, afford a home, take care of family responsibilities, and enjoy a second chance. These actions are underlined by a simple belief: When Americans who have earned a second chance are able to put their lives back on track, our communities are safer and stronger for it.
Many of our country’s leading businesses, philanthropies, and non-profit organizations, including some of the largest foundations, have also stepped up to lead by providing employment opportunities. For example, by delaying questions about criminal history until later in the hiring process, these employers provide applicants with a fair shot to be considered – judged based on what they have to offer, rather than by the crime for which they have already paid their debt. Institutions across the country have also supported workforce development programs that train individuals to be strong contributors to our economy. Other private sector leaders have helped support technology and education that create pathways for individuals with a criminal record to reconnect to their family and community. And many have provided assistance to children with incarcerated parents. Fair chance practices enhance public safety, help businesses stay more competitive by attracting talent, and ensure that every member of our communities has an equal opportunity to succeed.
In cities and towns across America, leaders are improving their communities by partnering with the philanthropic and private sectors to help those who have been incarcerated rehabilitate and reintegrate. Today, we need your help to identify these Champions of Change who work every day to make that promise of a second chance a reality.
Click the link below to nominate a Champion of Change for Expanding Fair Chance Opportunities by Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59 PM ET. Select “Fair Chance Opportunities” as your theme of service.
Nominees may include: