One Strike and You’re Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records

Source: Rebecca Vallas and Sharon Dietrich, Center for American Progress, December 2014

From the summary:
…Today, a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of poverty. It is a cause because having a criminal record can present obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification, and more; convictions can result in monetary debts as well. It is a consequence due to the growing criminalization of poverty and homelessness. 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. Failure to address this link as part of a larger anti-poverty agenda risks missing a major piece of the puzzle. …. The United States must craft policies to ensure that Americans with criminal records have a fair shot at a decent life for themselves and their families….