We agree with the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) when it says that former inmates need stability for successful reintegration in to American society, and we also agree with PPI when it says that that stability includes a reliable job. Where CDIA and PPI part company is in PPI’s assertion of a widespread hiring biases against former inmates. We believe that most employers are willing to help offer second chances to former inmates, and do so in a way that is fair and legal.
PPI published a paper in July 2018, Out of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people that supports automatic expungement. Out of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people calls for an “automatic mechanism for criminal record expungement that takes into account the offense type and length of time since sentencing would, in the near term, help formerly incarcerated people succeed and would, in the long term, promote public safety.” The PPI report cited Forgiving and Forgetting in American Justice: A 50-State Guide to Expungement and Restoration of Rights, a publication of the Collateral Consequences Resource Center.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More