Washington, DC - In April, the White House launched the Fair Chance Business Pledge encouraging companies from across the American economy to take action to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed, including individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system. The pledge represents a call-to-action for all members of the private sector to improve their communities by eliminating barriers for those with a criminal record and creating a pathway for a second chance.
Today we’re announcing a round of new signatories, bringing the total number of pledged employers to 185. The new commitments are from a diverse range of employers including: Walmart, Dropbox, and the University of Pennsylvania. The companies and organizations that have signed the pledge collectively employ over 3 million Americans.
Since the President took office, this Administration has been committed to reforming America's criminal justice system and highlighting the importance of reducing barriers facing justice-involved individuals who are trying to put their lives back on track. Over 2.2 million individuals are incarcerated in American prisons and jails, and the vast majority of them will return to their communities. Improving education and job opportunities for these individuals has a recognized effect of reducing crime and will make our communities safer.
By signing the Fair Chance Business Pledge, these companies are:
- Voicing strong support for economic opportunity for all, including the approximately 70 million Americans who have some form of a criminal record.
- Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to take action to reduce barriers to a fair shot at a second chance, including practices such as “banning the box” by delaying criminal history questions until later in the hiring process; ensuring that information regarding an applicant’s criminal record is considered in proper context; and engaging in hiring practices that do not unnecessarily place jobs out of reach for those with criminal records.
- Today’s announcement is further evidence of the private sector’s support for a more fair justice system. Throughout the year, the Administration will continue to highlight businesses that join the Fair Chance Business Pledge.
THE FAIR CHANCE BUSINESS PLEDGE
We applaud the growing number of public and private sector organizations nationwide who are taking action to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed, including individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system. When around 70 million Americans – nearly one in three adults – have a criminal record, it is important to remove unnecessary barriers that may prevent these individuals from gaining access to employment, training, education and other basic tools required for success in life. We are committed to providing individuals with criminal records, including formerly incarcerated individuals, a fair chance to participate in the American economy.
Companies and organizations interested in joining the Fair Chance Business Pledge can do so by signing up HERE.
Today’s signatories include:
- 3D PARS
- Aesthetics On The Glow
- ALB3 Consulting Research & Management
- Anzures Worldwide
- Aone Contracting & Supply
- Asian Media Access
- Associated Students Inc., San Francisco State University - Project Rebound
- Bob Barker Company
- Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles, LLC
- C.H. Robinson
- Caffe Lubena
- Capital Oversight Inc.
- Carosella Design Build, Ltd.
- Center for Children with Incarcerated Parents of America
- Center for Self-Sufficiency
- Civil Survival
- Conscious Connections LLC
- Cornerstone Baptist Church
- David's Hope
- Disruption LLC
- Every Dog Has Its Day Care
- FirmGreen, Inc.
- Friends of Guest House
- Global Agro Commodities LLC
- Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota
- GRID Alternatives
- J&X Energy LLC
- Leblanc Consulting
- Living Stones International
- Livin Lovely United, LLC
- Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
- Mission: Launch, Inc.
- Museum of Broadcast Communications
- My Urban Garden Soap
- Nehemiah Manufacturing
- New York Fashion Police
- Nolef Turns Inc.
- Nova Consulting Group, Inc.
- Novo Community Foundation
- Offender Aid & Restoration (OAR)
- Path to Freedom
- Paxen Learning Corp.
- Phyllis Wheatley Community Center
- PLR Services
- POP! Gourmet Foods
- Reading Terminal Market
- Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc.
- Ru'Day's Helping Hands
- Safe & Sound Hillsborough
- Saint Benjamin Brewing Company
- SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc.
- Six Mile Regional Library District
- Solar States
- Spartan Staffing
- SpringDot, Inc.
- StepUp Durham
- Student Success Institute
- Sungevity, Inc.
- Teslights, LLC
- Texas Central Partners, LLC
- The BeBe Group
- The Feminist Wire
- The Lake Alabaster Box
- Theatre of the Oppressed NYC
- Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
- University of Pennsylvania
- Weavers Way Cooperative Association
- Wellness Enterprises, Inc.
- Your Dog's Best Friends
Federal Interagency Reentry Council
In addition, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council released its strategic plan today, “A Record of Progress and a Roadmap for the Future,” highlighting the Council’s achievements and charting a course for building upon these efforts in the months and years to come. Originally launched in 2011, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council brings together representatives from more than 20 agencies across the federal government to expand the range of tools available so that every individual returning from prison or jail has a meaningful chance to rebuild their life and reclaim their future. Co-Chaired by the Attorney General and the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council coordinates and leverages existing federal resources, dispels myths related to reentry and clarifies policies, elevates promising practices, and reduces the policy barriers to successful reentry.
National Reentry Week
The Department of Justice also released an after-action report today describing the success of this year’s first-ever National Reentry Week. Held during the week of April 24th, this inaugural effort featured more than 550 events throughout the country, as well as several federal, state, and local actions and announcements aimed at improving reentry outcomes and raising awareness of the importance of successful rehabilitation and reintegration into communities. As the after-action report notes, leaders from across the Administration traveled in support of these events, which included:
- More than 75 resource fairs, connecting individuals with housing, legal aid, community-based reentry services and other vital resources;
- More than 65 employment-related events, providing recently released individuals with opportunities to connect with employers and job search resources;
- More than 75 reentry presentations, informing individuals returning home from prison or jail about ways to succeed despite the barriers they may face as they reenter their communities;
- More than 35 family-related events, providing individuals with information that will assist them with their release;
- More than 30 stakeholder meetings, bringing together all parties that have a stake in the reentry process;
- More than 25 graduation ceremonies, marking successful completion of programs ranging from reentry court programs to GED and vocational training curricula; and
- More than 25 reentry simulations, highlighting real-life issues facing reentering individuals.
These announcements build on the Administration’s longstanding commitment to improving reentry outcomes and removing unnecessary obstacles facing formerly incarcerated individuals, including:
- Establishing the Federal Interagency Reentry Council to lead the Government’s work on the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals returning to their communities from prisons and jails.
- Proposing a rule “Banning the Box” in federal employment by prohibiting federal agencies from asking questions about criminal and credit history of applicants for tens of thousands of government jobs until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
- Releasing guidance on the application of Fair Housing Act standards on the use of criminal records by providers of housing and providing guidance for public housing authorities on excluding the use of arrest records in housing decisions.
- Clarifying that individuals in state or local halfway houses and those on probation or parole are not excluded from Medicaid and describing how states can better facilitate access to Medicaid services for individuals reentering the community.
- Making available Veterans Affairs services and support to justice-involved veterans in over 350 Veterans Treatment Courts and other Veteran-focused court programs and 1,284 local jails.
- Removing unnecessary barriers to college access. The Department of Education issued Beyond the Box Guidance and higher education institutions from across the country joined the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge to voice their support for the reforms needed to expand college opportunity.
- Establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force in February of 2014, which is charged with addressing persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and ensuring all young people can reach their full potential. Many of the announcements being made today respond to the Task Force’s May 2014 Report to the President, which included a wide range of recommendations designed to create clear pathways to opportunity and “eliminate unnecessary barriers to giving justice-involved youth a second chance.”
- In addition, in 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released updated guidance on the appropriate use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions and clarified employers’ nondiscrimination obligations.