New Jersey topped the list of 43 states that passed legislation last year aimed at reducing barriers faced by people with criminal records in employment, voting, jury duty, and many other areas of daily life, according to the latest annual report of the Collateral Consequences Resource Center.
A new report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center says that only 10 states allow all people behind bars to access college and employment certification courses, while the rest prohibit some inmates from participating.
A Brooklyn group no longer will counsel released Rikers Island jail inmates after its founder was charged with threatening a neighbor, and a staffer allegedly conspired to smuggle drugs into a city jail.
Even as New York politicians wrangle over efforts to water down the state’s historic new bail reform law, some politicians are pushing for even more fundamental reforms. A bill introduced by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera would require parole boards to evaluate an inmate’s “growth”—a measure he says would especially benefit elderly prisoners.
One landlord refused him, but TCR’s columnist finds help in his struggle to overcome the label of “ex-felon” from unexpected places—including from the office of the prosecutor who originally put him behind bars.
“The vast majority of people disenfranchised live in our communities, own homes and pay taxes,” said sociologist Sarah Shannon of the University of Georgia who has studied the impact of reinstating voting rights to felons.
The Transitions Clinic network is working to expand its model of connecting recently released inmates to the health and social services they need to address chronic health conditions. A growing number of studies show its effects.
Gov. Andy Beshear, promised in his inauguration speech to sign an order restoring the vote to more than 100,000 of the estimated 240,000 Kentuckians who have completed felony sentences. He said they “have done wrong in the past but are doing right now,”