Incarceration

Fair Chances

Coalition partners are seeking to address the lifelong consequences of a criminal record. One in three American adults – as many as 100 million – has a criminal record. Further, 2.7 million children in America have a parent behind bars. As part of the Fair Chances campaign, we seek to:

  • Educate and inform the public and policymakers on the critical need to reduce the impact of collateral consequences have on people with records, expand employment and education opportunities for people with records, and seal records when appropriate to encourage rehabilitation and reformation.
  • Work to break down the barriers faced by those returning home after detention or incarceration so that they may become productive citizens. Support federal, state, and voluntary private business efforts to “ban the box” to prevent automatic or categorical disqualification for a job based on a person’s record.

Read more about our push for fair chances. Then, take the pledge.

More Facts

In contrast to a penalty or sentence for a crime that is explicit in statute, a collateral consequence is triggered by an arrest or conviction, is an additional consequence for criminal conduct, and is usually not clearly incorporated into the penal or criminal codes.

  • Some are mandatory in law, and some are discretionary; for example, a licensing board may have the option to deny a license to an applicant with a criminal record, but are not required to do so.

Limited access to professional licenses is more significant today than ever before. It is estimated that in the 1950s, less than 5 percent of the workforce needed a license to perform their duties. Today, almost 30 percent of the workforce is covered by occupational licensing requirements.

People who serve time in prison are faced with a 40 percent decrease in annual earnings and higher unemployment rates.