Center for American Progress

EVENT ADVISORY: Ensuring People With Criminal Records and Their Families Aren’t Left Behind in the Coronavirus Response
Press Advisory

Washington, D.C. — Following decades of mass incarceration and overcriminalization, 1 in 3 Americans have some type of criminal record. With nearly 9 in 10 employers and 4 in 5 landlords using background checks to screen applicants, the stigma of a criminal record can be a significant, long-lasting barrier to basic necessities such as employment and housing.

Heading into the coronavirus pandemic, formerly incarcerated people were already facing an unemployment rate of more than 27 percent—higher than any previous U.S. unemployment rate, including during the Great Depression. People with criminal records and their families will likely see their already disproportionate levels of economic disadvantage multiplied by the coronavirus downturn. Unless policymakers act, they will also be among the people who fare the worst in the recovery as the economy begins to bounce back after the pandemic.

Please join the Center for American Progress for an online event on the steps we need to take now at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that people with criminal records and their families are not left behind in the nation’s COVID-19 response.

Opening remarks:
State Rep. Jordan Harris (D-PA), Minority Whip, Pennsylvania Assembly

Daryl Atkinson, Co-Director, Forward Justice
Sharon Dietrich, Litigation Director, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Arthur Rizer, Director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties, R Street Institute
Quintin Williams,  Campaign Manager, Heartland Alliance

Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Thursday, April 23, 2020

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

You must RSVP to watch the livestream event by clicking this link. An email will then be sent with instructions on how to watch.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.