"They don't judge you. The program offers you a feeling of hope. The program taught me what it meant to forgive. If you want people to bless you and move forward despite your past, you have to learn to do that for others."
The promise of a second impression is to simplify the job search for people with records and to leverage consumer power to either support progressive employers or put pressure on employers who fail to adopt more progressive hiring policies.
This past week saw record-breaking weather conditions in Nashville. The snow, ice and frigid temps caused Tennessee's governor to declare a State of Emergency, and our Mayor urged drivers to exercise extreme caution, or, better yet, stay home.
Nashville, like many American metropolises, turned its back on its river for years. Never mind that it was an inextricable part of the physical Nashville make-up, and that it would never leave us. But a fundamental shift occurred. A 180-degree turn, to be specific.
If policymakers are not moved by hungry children and unfair consequences for communities of color, they should at least be persuaded by this: Bans on public benefits for formerly incarcerated individuals are counterproductive.
The mass incarceration of minority communities, and the resulting mass reentry and lifetime collateral consequences have created the "perfect storm" to ensure that criminal record based employment discrimination serves as a surrogate for race-based discrimination.
A recent study issued by the National Sheriff's Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center describes the shocking fact that there are now three times more mentally ill persons in American jails and prisons than there are in hospitals.
Efforts to balance state budgets are resulting in the premature release of prisoners. But little is being done to ensure that those who are released don't end up right back where they started, in prison.