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States Consider Laws to Address Legal Obstacles to Employment for People Released from Prisons and Jails April 17, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Providing employment opportunities to individuals upon release from prison or jail is a critical step to facilitating their successful return to the community. According to a five-year study conducted by the United States Probation and Pretrial Services System and published in 2007, people convicted of federal offenses who are employed are more likely to complete their term of community supervision without revocation for technical violations or new criminal conduct. The study found that the conditional release of individuals under community supervision was seven times more likely to get revoked if they were unemployed at the start and end of supervision.

Despite these findings, a wide range of legal and logistical obstacles continue to affect the ability of people released from prison or jail to find and maintain employment. Several states have recently introduced legislation to address some of these barriers. Two states have introduced legislation that facilitates expungement of criminal records in certain cases:

Other states also introduced legislation relating to expunging and sealing of criminal records this year:

The Sentencing Project has released a new resource, Relief from the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction: A State-by-State Resource Guide, which offers a comprehensive survey of laws and practices relating to obtaining relief from penalties that accompany a criminal conviction in each state. The resource includes a state-by-state breakdown of judicial expungement, sealing, and set-aside laws.

For more information on removing barriers to employment for people released from prisons and jails, click here.

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