Issues and Challenges

  • Man with clipboardMillions of people in the United States--a disproportionate number of whom are people of color--have criminal records, which are often due to unequal application of laws and local, state, and federal "tough on crime" approaches to social and health problems.
  • Public and private entities use criminal records to deny employment, entry into professions, and rental housing.

Policy Agenda

  • Advance laws and policies to replace broad criminal-record barriers to and open opportunities for employment, professional licensing, and housing.
  • Improve the accurate collection and appropriate dissemination of criminal records by government and private agencies.
  • Educate the public about the Civil Rights Act's Title VII limits on using criminal records in employment decisions, and enforce Title VII.
  • Advocate policies to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and reduce collateral consequences of conviction, including incarceration-related debt.
  • Promote health care instead of using prisons to tackle behavioral issues.