STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin Reacts to White House Announcement on Reentry Investment for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House announced a series of important actions designed to ensure that people with criminal records and their families are supported and afforded a second chance. In previous reports, the Center for American Progress has addressed issues of mass incarceration and criminal records as underappreciated drivers of poverty and inequality and has examined the impact of parents’ criminal records on their children’s opportunities and life chances. Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
Nearly four decades of mass incarceration and overcriminalization have made the United States the world leader in incarceration and arrests, with as many as 100 million Americans now having some type of criminal record. Even a minor record can create lifelong barriers to opportunity, including the ability to obtain employment, housing, or an education. Nearly half of American children now have a parent with a criminal record, which can severely limit a child’s life chances. And each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons, while roughly another 12 million cycle through local jails. Reentry programs provide critical help as people with criminal records and formerly incarcerated individuals seek to transition back into their communities successfully. In particular, the initiatives announced today will go a long way toward opening educational and employment opportunities to returning citizens and all Americans with criminal records and helping secure safe and stable housing for themselves and their families. Putting stability within reach for people with criminal records and their families ultimately will also make our communities safer, as employment and housing, among other things, play important roles in reducing recidivism.
Click here to watch the full video of today’s event at CAP, featuring U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.
- One Strike and You’re Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records by Rebecca Vallas and Sharon Dietrich
- Removing Barriers to Opportunity for Parents With Criminal Records and Their Children: A Two-Generation Approach by Rebecca Vallas, Melissa Boteach, Rachel West, and Jackie Odum
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