The state of California is in dire economic straits. Governor-elect Jerry Brown will take the reigns of a state with 12% unemployment and crippling social problems. Among those problems are overcrowded prisons with revolving doors.
Eight million Californians have criminal records, and it is extremely difficult for former prisoners to find and keep jobs. A new report from Berkeley Law School outlines concrete recommendations for the state to improve post-prison employment opportunities, breaking the cycle of crime and poverty and helping to rebuild lives and communities. Send a copy of the report to Jerry Brown below and urge him to prioritize employment opportunities for people with criminal records.
- California Governor-Elect
You are taking office at a time of uncertainty in California. But difficult times can also produce great opportunity, and I’m writing to urge you to seize this chance to break the cycle of crime, poverty and unemployment in our communities.
California’s prisons are overcrowded. The state incarcerates too many people for non-violent offenses and has failed massively at providing pathways for people with criminal records to build productive lives after a conviction and after incarceration. A new report from Berkeley Law School outlines 15 concrete recommendations for the state to provide a path to employment for people with criminal records. I urge you to read this paper and prioritize reforms to empower former prisoners to lead productive lives. You can find the full report here: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Final_EO_Master_Complete.pdf
Among the reforms recommended in the Berkeley report are:
> Form community reentry roundtables, bringing businesses and community leaders together to ensure that released prisoners have a place in the state.
> Align prison job training and education programs with the needs of the new economy and state businesses.
> Improve government oversight of the private background check industry to avoid errors that prevent employment.
When people with criminal records are excluded from job opportunities, we only intensify the vicious cycle of crime and poverty. As the new Berkeley report points out, addressing this problem will take input from the business community, criminal defendants, educator, the religious community and others.
I urge you to prioritize reforms to help people with criminal records find employment in California. You’ll empower Californians to lead productive lives and build healthier communities.
Read the Berkeley report here: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Final_EO_Master_Complete.pdf
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