In May of this year, representatives from the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) met with the Department of Justice to discuss the goals of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, the Fair Chance Business Pledge and the National Clean Slate Clearinghouse.  The following month, NAPBS representatives met with the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity, Domestic Policy Council, and Department of Labor to discuss the goals of these same programs.

The concern of all parties involved was record accuracy, making sure expungements are being adequately reflected, and job and housing opportunities for people for whom the record accurately reflects a criminal history.  NAPBS members shared their experience of counseling people as they reenter the workforce and will continue its outreach to the White House as the reentry programs develop.

These meetings were held shortly after National Reentry Week (April 24th-30th), during which the new Federal Interagency Reentry Council was established.  While a Cabinet-level reentry working group has been operating since 2011, President Obama’s announcement has formalized the Reentry Council that will lead the federal government’s work on the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals returning to their communities from prisons and jails.  The Reentry Council is co-chaired by the Attorney General and the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and consists of the heads of each federal executive departments (except Departments of State and Defense).  More information about the Reentry Council and it’s Roadmap to Reentry can be found here.

Another significant federal reentry initiative was announced just prior to the formation of the Reentry Council.  President Obama gathered with 19 companies at the White House to unveil the Fair Chance Business Pledge, which is a voluntary program to encourage employers to reduce or eliminate barriers to employment for persons with criminal histories.  The pledge encourages companies to promote fair hiring practices such as using reliable background check providers, hosting a Fair Chance and Opportunity Job Fair, “Banning the Box” and training HR staff on making fair decisions regarding applicants with criminal records.  Employers of all size and industries can sign the pledge on the Fair Chance Business Pledge website.

If you have questions about how these programs can affect your organization, contact JDP – the Risk Mitigation Specialists.