Center for American Progress

Congress Must Act Now to Ensure Second Chances for Americans with Criminal Records and Their Families
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Congress Must Act Now to Ensure Second Chances for Americans with Criminal Records and Their Families

Todd A. Cox argues that Congress must make meaningful policy changes immediately in order to reform the nation's justice system and expand opportunities for those with criminal records.

Authors

  • Todd A. Cox

In the coming months, Congress could take important steps to fix the nation’s broken criminal justice system. It’s an overhaul that’s long overdue. The policies imposed during the so-called tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and 1990s have produced tragic consequences for entire communities already ravaged by high rates of poverty, lack of opportunity, and rampant inequality. Over-criminalization and mass incarceration continue to drive racial inequality and poverty in America. In fact, one study estimates that the overall poverty rate would have dropped 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration.

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Authors

Todd A. Cox

Director, Criminal Justice Policy