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After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry, A Report on State Legal Barriers Facing People with Criminal Records

NCJ Number
205269
Date Published
2004
Length
26 pages
Annotation
This report summarizes the findings of a 2 year study conducted by the Legal Action Center (LAC) of the legal obstacles that people with criminal records face when they attempt to reenter society.
Abstract
With more than a half a million people released from State and Federal prisons every year, current State and Federal laws tend to interfere with the rights and obligations of full citizenship in almost every aspect of an individual’s life. In essence, these laws are seen as creating roadblocks to the basic necessities of those attempting to rebuild their lives in society. This report presents findings from a 2 year in-depth study, conducted by the Legal Action Center (LAC) of the legal obstacles that people with criminal records face when they attempt to reenter society and become productive, law-abiding citizens. It was found that those individuals with criminal records seeking reentry face an overwhelming array of counterproductive, debilitating, and unreasonable roadblocks. The study was divided into three parts: (1) what is the law; (2) the report card; and (3) the vision for the future. Part 1 presents a comprehensive catalog of each State’s legal barriers to employment, housing, benefits, voting, access to criminal records, parenting, and driving. In Part 2, the report card grades each State on whether its laws and policies help or hurt those seeking reentry. Lastly, part 3 outlines how Federal and State policymakers can assist in reintegrating people with criminal records into society and still promote public safety. In summary, these roadblocks block the reintegration of people with criminal records, which in turn compromises everyone’s safety and the well-being of communities. There is the need to facilitate the ability of these individuals to live productive and law-abiding lives.