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The Next Right Thing: Removing Employment Barriers - This 10 minute video on re-entry and employment developed by Highland Access, Re-entry and Recovery Program (HARRP), Partnership for Safety and Justice and ROAR features Jamaica Imani-Nelson and other formerly incarcerated individuals discussing the barriers to employment. Employers who do hire the formerly incarcerated and their reasoning in doing so are also highlighted, including B & G Builders, Home Energy Life Performance Group (H.E.L.P.) and Small Parts Manufacturing Co.
US Attorney General Asks States to Make it Easier for Ex-Cons to Find Work - Published June 14th in the Superior Telegram, US Attorney Eric Holder sent a letter to all the state governors and attorneys general in April asking them to systematically review their state statutes and then encourage state legislators to eliminate those that place undue burdens on ex-offenders. He noted that recent research shows that good jobs and stable housing are the best way to prevent offenders from committing new crimes.
Holder's letter coincided with new online data base created by the American Bar Association database listing all state statutes in the country that impose post incarceration sanctions on offenders. George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg helped create the data base. He says states can use it to help reduce recidivism.
"Once they have available information about the range of collateral consequences that currently have been enacted into law they can take a careful look and see whether or not some of those are really unnecessary and get rid of those that stand in the way of people getting back into the community and being able to work,” Saltzburg says.
Wisconsin has 525 such statutes, well below the national average of 700. This week Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wrote back to Eric Holder. He says he will not conduct a systematic review of Wisconsin's statutes because he believes all of them address legitimate public safety interests. Still Saltzburg says prosecutors and defense attorneys can use the database when reaching plea bargaining agreements. He says the goal should be to impose punishments that hold offenders accountable but don’t destroy their chance become productive citizens after serving their sentences.
Mercy Corps Northwest programs work to increase economic self-sufficiency and community integration through microenterprise development and self-employment. We assist low-income current and aspiring small-business owners throughout Oregon and Washington in order to reduce unemployment, grow personal incomes and assets, and increase economic growth.