Via WUSA9: "'It's not about me making a lot, I just want to do better,' Morgan said. 'I needed an opportunity, according to him [Mr. Penny] he gave me an opportunity, but I earned it.'"
Via The Oregonian: "The Portland City Council unanimously approved stronger rules Wednesday designed to give former felons and other people with a criminal history a better opportunity to win over potential bosses during the hiring process without having to discuss their past.
As of July 1, 2016, many Portland business owners won't be allowed to ask about a prospective employee's criminal history until after they've offered the candidate a job."
Via Brennan Center For Justice: "According to a 2012 Department of Justice survey, state criminal history repositories contain more than 100 million records. These are popularly referred to as “rap sheets” or “criminal records” although most people who have them have never been convicted of a serious crime. These repositories chronicle nearly every arrest, regardless of whether or not it leads to an indictment or conviction. And while 100 million records do exist, this figure almost certainly overstates the true number of individuals who have been arrested at any point in their lives, since one person can have an arrest record in multiple states."
Via The Atlantic: "Our carceral state banishes American citizens to a gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens. Banishment continues long after one’s actual time behind bars has ended, making housing and employment hard to secure. And banishment was not simply a well-intended response to rising crime. It was the method by which we chose to address the problems that preoccupied Moynihan, problems resulting from 'three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment.' At a cost of $80 billion a year, American correctional facilities are a social-service program—providing health care, meals, and shelter for a whole class of people."
"The challenges of housing and employment bedevil many ex-offenders. 'It’s very common for them to go homeless,' Linda VanderWaal, the associate director of prisoner reentry at a community-action agency in Michigan, told me. In the winter, VanderWaal says, she has a particularly hard time finding places to accommodate all the homeless ex-prisoners. Those who do find a place to live often find it difficult to pay their rent."
"NYCHA’s Family Reentry Pilot Program helps people leaving prison and/or jail reunite with their families in NYCHA public housing. Through the program, formerly incarcerated individuals gain access to the family support, housing security, and reentry services necessary after incarceration."
Via The Nation: "Rules vary by city, but many local public housing authorities exclude people with a criminal record either completely or for several years, exacerbating bias that exists in the wider housing market. In a recent survey of formerly incarcerated people and their families, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights found that 79 percent of respondents had been denied housing because of their own criminal record or a relative’s. One in ten reported that family members were evicted when their relatives returned from prison. Because of racial disparity in the criminal justice system, these barriers to housing likely have a disproportionate impact on people of color."
Via The Guardian: "Nearly 10 years in prison is long enough to make someone dependent on the basic necessities: food, housing and heat. So when Darnell Smith, 31, prepared to leave Sing Sing correctional facility in Westchester, New York, he began to panic. He had no home outside of his cell.
Smith’s wife and two children – a family now expanded to three kids – lived in one of the 328 New York City public housing developments for low-income residents. But Smith wasn’t allowed to join them, on account of a long-standing housing policy that severely limits the opportunities for convicted felons to live in public housing.
'You’re telling me I cannot live with my wife and kids and the only way I could is if they leave public housing?' Smith said.
Smith considered a homeless shelter, which is the immediate destination for many formerly incarcerated people in New York City. A relative helped him cobble together the monthly $600 for a single room in Harlem with no kitchen – basically like 'being in a box', Smith recalled."
Via St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Gwen Smith wrote a letter (Nov. 18) about various Ban the Box efforts around the country regarding not having one's felony record automatically preclude them from getting a job. As a felon myself, I certainly applaud this change of thinking. But there is an equally, if not more pressing roadblock for felons trying to re-enter their communities: housing.
Over the past three weeks, I have tried to apply to 34 apartment complexes in the North County area. Some are out of my price range, some are in questionable neighborhoods. But of the dozen or so that do fit those first two criteria, every single one has outright rejected my attempts to apply because of the felony. For those of us who don't have homes to go back to, finding housing is a crapshoot of either living in an unsafe area or finding suitable arrangements in newspaper ads, which opens a whole other box of uncertainties.
The halfway house and probation offices are constantly prodding you to find a place to live, apparently oblivious to the fact that the scarlet F's we wear limit our options to unsafe or zero. It is an extremely frustrating and frankly hopeless trial that those of us with limited financial means must somehow overcome. Ban the Box movements at employers are great, but it's only half the battle."