Given a Fair Chance

Given a Fair Chance

Washington D.C. 

prison-bars

Today, twenty five percent of all imprisoned people on the planet are imprisoned in the United States making America to home the largest number of imprisoned people in the world. 

In the past thirty years, the nation’s prison population has exploded by nearly 800 percent and increased the cost to tax payers on prison spending by nearly 400 percent. 

Contrary to popular belief, most of these people are not hardened, violent prisoners. Far too many are nonviolent, low-level drug offenders. 

For communities who have suffered under the weight of this imbalanced criminal justice system the good news is that momentum has continued to build across the nation, at all levels of government and in both political parties to change what many now consider a “misappropriation of justice.” 

As a result, a diverse coalition is continuing to build and strengthen of individuals, groups, and organizations that include both Democrats and Republicans, law enforcement officials and clergy who are collectively calling for comprehensive change in the trajectory of our justice system. 

Last week, President Barack Obama gave notice of another step forward in the movement for change. He announced that to date, more than 300 companies and organizations have signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge—a significant increase since April when that number stood at 19. 

The Fair Chance Business Pledge is a commitment to eliminate unnecessary hiring barriers facing people with a criminal record. Along with this step and a series of Administrative actions to enhance the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice, Obama has shown that the federal government can lead the way to progress. 

Companies who have taken the Fair Chance Pledge to date include such industry giants as Walmart, Dropbox, American Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Georgia Pacific, Google, The Hershey Company, Koch Industries, PepsiCo, Prudential, Starbucks, Uber and Xerox just to name a few. 

To view the pledge in detail visit https:// www.whitehouse.gov/issues/criminal-justice/ business-pledge#section-352871.

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