A new report by the Center for American Progress, “One Strike and You’re Out: How We can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records”, reveals the barriers that Americans with criminal records face in accessing employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification, and more, and how the challenges associated with having a criminal record actually come at great cost to the U.S. economy. One recent study finds that our nation’s poverty rate would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration and the subsequent criminal records that haunt people for years after they have paid their debt to society. Estimates put the cost of employment losses among people with criminal records at as much as $65 billion per year in terms of gross domestic product. This report explains how all levels of government (local, state, and federal), employers, and academic institutions can work to ensure that criminal records do not lead to structural racism and poverty.
March 5, 2015