Second chances: Employers more open to hiring people with criminal backgrounds
Chicago Tribune by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz and Lisa Schencker
September 11, 2018
...Doors long closed to people with criminal records have begun to crack open in industries ranging from health care to banking as employers seek new sources of talent and as lawmakers bet that gainful employment will reduce the risk that people will return to prison.
In Illinois, lawmakers have changed licensing laws to make 100-plus occupations more accessible to people with criminal records, including in real estate and accounting. The state also has expanded the types of convictions that can be sealed and therefore invisible to most employers. Meanwhile, tweaks to federal banking policies make it easier for banks to hire people convicted of minor crimes. ...
Records of Illinois parole board show just how rarely inmates win release
Injustice Watch: By Emily Hoerner and Jeanne Kuang | July 27, 2018
Parole board member has voted in favor of parole only once: Injustice Watch has published data from the Illinois parole board that reveals how infrequently people are granted release. In over three years on the board, former police officer Peter Fisher has voted against parole 160 times and in favor once. “William Norton, a former attorney and prosecutor, has been on the board since 2012,” reportsInjustice Watch. “Of 358 votes Norton has cast, he has voted in an inmate’s favor just five times—1.4 percent of the time.” Former social worker Edith Crigler has most often favored parole, voting yes in 32.5 percent of cases she heard. She said she focuses on a person’s progress since the crime rather than the crime itself. “You can really get to see that these women and men have made monumental leaps between what they did 30 to 40 years ago and who they are now,” she said. “A lot of our board members are former police officers or prosecutors, and they look at the letter of the law.”
From Prison to Parole an ex-con's transition
Chris Carney, an ex-convict, rebuilds a life in the real world after landing a job as a building superintendent
Getting Out of Prison Meant Leaving Dear Friends Behind
The Marshall Project : By ROBERT WRIGHT
... I grab my mattress, as inmates are made to do, along with a few personal belongings—photo albums, holiday cards, and personal letters—and walk out of my cell. I turn around, mentally bidding farewell to the tomb in which I spent the last nine years of my life. I’ve only told a few people I was going home. How can I look into the eyes of a man who will probably spend the rest of his life in captivity and tell him that my exodus has come? We were comrades in sorrow. What united us was pain. What now could I say to this friend to convince him we are still in this fight together? ...
Article: Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.
May 26, 2018 NBC | Adam Edelman
Half the states bar ex-cons from getting the occupational licences they need to re-enter the workforce. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say it doesn't make sense.
Mike Grennan, a former convict who's getting by piecing together small construction gigs in Port Huron, Michigan, says he's paid his debt to society — but, when it comes to getting an occupational license to be a home-building contractor, he just can't outrun his criminal past.
That's because Michigan, like two dozen other states, has laws on the books that prevent ex-felons like Grennan from getting the professional licenses they need to work in a variety of blue-collar trades, including cutting hair, welding, doing makeup and cosmetics, construction and more.
Life on Parole — FRONTLINE and The New York Times' investigation of one state’s effort to reduce recidivism and lower prison populations by rethinking how parole works.
With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, the film follows four former prisoners as they re-enter society and navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — including finding work, staying sober and parenting -- all under intense supervision from the state.
From Vaughn Gresham, who was arrested for the first time at age 16, to Jessica Proctor, who spent nearly a decade behind bars for assault with physical injury, Life on Parole is a remarkable, firsthand look at why some people stay out of jail, why some go back, and how one state is trying to break the cycle of recidivism.
"I make a living on second chances — that’s what parole is," Officer Katherine Montoya says in the documentary.
Don't miss this inside look at how one state's experiment with second chances has played out for offenders, the communities they return to, and the system that's responsible for supervising them.
When They Get Out: how prisons
Atlantic (1999) by Sasha Abramsky
Popular perceptions about crime have blurred the boundaries between fact and politically expedient myth. The myth is that the United States is besieged, on a scale never before encountered, by a pathologically criminal underclass. The fact is that we're not. After spiraling upward during the drug wars, murder rates began falling in the mid-1990s; they are lower today than they were more than twenty years ago. In some cities the murder rate in the late twentieth century is actually lower than it was in the nineteenth century. Nonviolent property-crime rates are in general lower in the United States today than in Great Britain, and are comparable to those in many European countries.
Article: Getting Out of Prison Meant Leaving Dear Friends Behind:
The Marshall Project May 31, 2018 by Robert Wright
...I stop in front of the cell of one of my oldest friends. He looks at me and turns away, wishing me well without looking into my eyes. I give him information on how to get in touch with me. When I go to hand him the piece of paper, I can see he has tears in eyes that he is desperately trying to prevent from falling in my presence. He was sentenced to 40 to life. Never in the 10 years that I have known him have I ever seen him in a moment of weakness. And now it is my departure that is the cause of his vulnerability. We hug through the bars that separate us and exchange I love yous. I walk away knowing he was watching the image of me in the mirror he stuck outside his bars become smaller and smaller, until it would be the last he ever sees of me. ...
Article/Podcast: IL Inmates Hope to get into this Prison
WBEZ by Miles Bryan
In Illinois’ Department of Corrections, there’s a prison so attractive that inmates write essays to get in. It’s only housing about 220 prisoners, but more than 1,500 have applied to get in. At the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center, inmates are free to walk where they please, take art classes, and even garden.
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UUPMI Members note that this while we work toward a total reduction in prison population this is a model of how prisons should be run to ensure people live in dignity and care.
CNI Micro Finance Group by Erica King
One hundred twenty-five men and women recently released from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will be given a real chance to transform their lives thanks to an innovative new program forged by a dynamic public/private partnership fueled by CNIMFG with support from Citi Community Development. The program will provide training and start-up capital to help returning citizens open a business and create jobs and economic opportunities for themselves and underserved Chicago communities. Studies show that only 17.5% of returning prisoners who find regular employment, or create jobs for themselves, return to prison.
Erica King, VP Lending, CNIMFG, recently joined Governor Bruce Rauner and other state officials to launch the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC), the new privately funded program designed to provide recently incarcerated citizens with in-depth training, personal coaching and mentoring from its program partners: Bethel New Life, Chatham Business Association, North Lawndale Employment Network, The Safer Foundation and Sunshine Enterprises. Once the training is successfully completed, participants will be eligible to receive up to $50,000 in start-up capital from CNIMFG to open a business.
Watch or listen to the segment on line.
PERC's partners include the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority, IDOC, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and CNIMFG. More than $1 million was raised to fund the program from Citi Community Development, The Chicago Community Trust, the Perry Family Foundation, US Bank Foundation and the Hughes Foundation.
For additional information about PERC or CNIMFG's micro-lending products and financial services, contact Erica King, Vice President of Lending, CNIMFG, email@example.com or 773.341.2072.
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Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive