States across the country are taking action to enact clean slate policies. This toolkit includes the following ways to join the campaign and take action: talking points, frequently asked questions, sample op-eds, sample letters to the editor, and sample social media and shareable graphics.
Occupational licensing laws govern who can and cannot work in certain professions—and many of these laws shut out entire swaths of the workforce based on their criminal record. This analysis finds that such provisions not only harm job seekers with records, but also violate the constitutional rights to equal protection and due process and undermine the safety of our communities. Accordingly, policymakers should follow the lead of states that have successfully changed or removed barriers to occupational licenses.
A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute shows that while job seekers with criminal records face additional barriers during the hiring process, most employers are open to hiring people with criminal histories. Roughly two-thirds of human resources professionals indicated that their organization has experience hiring justice-involved employees, and the majority of workers at all levels indicated willingness to work with individuals with criminal records. Importantly, human resources professionals and managers report that the employees with criminal records perform just as well as—or better than—workers without records.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced a new partnership with Code For America to develop and implement an automated criminal record-clearing process, starting with convictions eligible under Proposition 64 to legalize marijuana. The innovative partnership will restore opportunity to thousands of individuals with marijuana convictions, with no action required from the individual and little staff time or resources from the district attorney’s office. Code for America plans to expand the pilot program to bring automated record clearing to other counties in California, with the goal of clearing 250,000 records by 2019.
JustLeadershipUSA’s #WORKINGfuture campaign outlines a “Bill of Rights” for workers with criminal records. The Bill of Rights proposes a new way of thinking about the rights of formerly incarcerated people, rooted in the principles of dignity, restorative justice, and economic security and mobility. #WORKINGfuture is an economic justice campaign to break down collateral consequences and promote investment in the community, spearheaded by leaders who have been affected by the criminal justice system.
Thousands of Californians are eligible to have their criminal records sealed, but many are still missing out on the opportunity. However, it’s not for lack of will—many simply don’t know they’re eligible, can’t afford a lawyer, or get lost in red tape. The automatic sealing of criminal records offers a solution to this problem.
Award-winning rapper Meek Mill has been released from a Pennsylvania prison, after spending months behind bars for a minor violation of the terms of his probation. The musician’s experience has helped shine light on the failings of the American community supervision system, which imposes unnecessarily prohibitive restrictions on the lives of millions of Americans, setting them up to be reincarcerated.