The economy and ex-cons’ odds of returning to jail

Release from prison during an economic upswing may reduce the chance an offender returns to jail, a new study finds.

The issue: Over 10,000 prisoners are released from jail every week in the United States, according to the Department of Justice. Two-thirds are rearrested within three years. Academics have looked at numerous factors that may explain this recidivism rate. A new paper focuses on the role employment can play in helping former convicts adjust to life outside prison.

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Patty's Remarkable Story....

When I released for the last time in 2000, for my 27th parole violation, I didn’t know what to do. I knew that I would never be able to have a driver’s license in my name, build my credit enough to ever have a credit card, buy a car and I knew if I did get a car, it could never be in my name. With my criminal history, I knew I would never be able to rent a place of my own. I knew I could never have a job in my name- my résumé too spotty to say the least. In addition, I knew that my fines, fees and restitution would gobble up any of my paycheck – if I could ever get one.

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Banning private for-profit prisons

On September 17, 2015 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced bills to ban private prisons, reinstate the federal parole system and eliminate quotas for the number of immigrants held in detention.

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The big paradox of criminal justice in America

Washington Post writer John Roman published an article today about the American criminal justice system today versus 1970. The statistics fuel an important discussion about today's conviction rates.
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Why do we lock up so many people — disrupting so many families and so many communities — to achieve the same crime results we did nearly a half-century ago?
— John Roman, Washington Post

Better People applauds Facebook's application process

Better People applauds Facebook for creating an application process that is not biased against people with legal histories. After a recent tour of San Quentin State Prison in California, Facebook Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg took to his Facebook page to share his experience and call for prison reform. 

In reaction to a comment to this post, Zuckerberg replied, “We actually don’t ask about your criminal record on your job application here at Facebook. That way we don’t bias against people who’ve made a mistake in their past, and we can help give them a second chance.”

Better People encourages all employers to remove questions about legal history from their application process.

Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely than whites to be arrested for possession and sale of marijuana and to receive a conviction and criminal record, even though the majority of marijuana users are non-Hispanic whites,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our entire society pays the price for an unfair, broken system.
— Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO