Opportunity Nation enthusiastically supports the bipartisan Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment, or REDEEM Act, sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY) in the 113th Congress. This legislation aims to keep juveniles out of the criminal justice system and incentivizes states to make it easier for formerly incarcerated adults to have their criminal records sealed.
The REDEEM Act would remove barriers to reentry into society and put thousands of young adults on a pathway to a career and productive lives.
In today’s economy, we can’t afford to sideline any of our talent. We need everyone who wants to work out on the field, doing their part. Legislation such as the REDEEM Act would connect young Americans to the labor market and reduce the rate of recidivism, thereby strengthening our communities and saving millions of dollars in incarceration costs.
Young Americans face significant barriers to living wage employment, housing and education in the current criminal justice system.
Every day in the United States, 2.2 million people are incarcerated, including a million young Americans under the age of 30. Every year, more than 600,000 people return home from prison and face multiple barriers to entering the labor market. Many lack a high school diploma and work experience. Some are struggling to reconnect with family and with other issues such as sobriety and mental health. And the stigma of incarceration makes it hard to even get in the front door of many businesses.
Locked out of opportunity and reintegration into the life of the community, an estimated two-thirds are rearrested within three years.
Throughout the country, policymakers are moving away from punitive policies and practices, aiming to reduce the number of incarcerated Americans without jeopardizing public safety.
That is why Opportunity Nation supports efforts like the REDEEM Act, which are intended to help newly released prisoners, especially young adults, who commit non-violent crimes become more self-reliant and less likely to commit future crimes.