Admit Dwayne Betts to the Connecticut Bar
Dwayne Betts paid his dues to society for stealing a car when he was 16 years old, serving 8 years in prison. Instead of returning to a life of crime, Dwayne went on to become an award-winning poet, graduated from Yale Law School, and passed the Connecticut bar exam.
Sadly, the state bar has now delayed his admission based solely on a 20-year-old conviction. But if we don't allow people with criminal records to re-enter society after serving their terms (through employment, housing, education, or voting), how can we be surprised when they reoffend?
As a fellow Yale graduate and a Commissioner for the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, I know that what Dwayne has accomplished is no easy feat. He took advantage of every opportunity we give juvenile offenders to help them make positive choices. But instead of celebrating his accomplishments, he's being told he can't become a lawyer because of a mistake he made 20 years ago.
Let's tell the Connecticut Bar that Dwayne's redemptive work should be rewarded, not punished.
(Photo Credit: Alex Brandon)
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