Reentry Council Snapshots and Additional Resources

Reentry Council Snapshots

The Snapshots cover a broad range of reentry topics:

Each Snapshot briefly describes the issue, summarizes Reentry Council accomplishments to date, lays out the Council’s priorities moving forward, and points to key resources and links.

About the Reentry Council

The Reentry Council, established by Attorney General Holder in January 2011, represents a significant executive branch commitment to coordinating reentry efforts and advancing effective reentry policies.

Reentry MythBusters

Reentry MythBusters are fact sheets designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in areas such as public housing, employment, parental rights, Medicaid suspension/termination, voting rights and more.

Selected Policy Documents and Other Resources


Background Checks: Tips for Job Applicants and Employees (FTC)

This guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains the legal rights of job applicants and employees regarding background checks. It discusses when and how employers are legally allowed to inquire about a job applicant or employee’s background, including information regarding their criminal record and other public records, medical history, credit or financial information, and their race, national origin, sex, religion, or age.

Updated Guidance on Use of Criminal Records in Employment Decisions (EEOC)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s revised guidance calls for employers to assess applicants on an individual basis rather than excluding everyone with a criminal record through a blanket policy.  It provides new detail and direction for employers as to how to consider three key factors: (1) the nature of the job; (2) the nature and seriousness of the offense; and (3) the length of time since it occurred – both in writing a hiring policy and in making a specific hiring decision.  The updated guidance also emphasizes that employers should not reject a candidate because of an arrest without a conviction, as arrests are not proof of criminal conduct.

Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 31-11 (DOL)

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and Civil Rights Center issued a joint guidance for the public workforce system regarding employer job postings that contain hiring exclusions or restrictions based on arrest and conviction history.

Directive to Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (DOL)

DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a Directive advising federal contractors and subcontractors of their obligations regarding the use of criminal records as an employment screen.

Contractor Fitness Adjudication Best Practices Guide (OPM)

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has developed a best practices guide which addresses employment fitness adjudication for contractor applicants and employees who support Federal agencies. 

Consumer Protection Documents: For Employers and Employees (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission advises employers and employees on individuals’ rights with regard to the access and use of consumer reports and background checks in employment decisions.


Secretary Donovan’s Letters on HUD-assisted Housing: For Public Housing Executive Directors and Multi-family Property Owners (HUD)

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development sent these letters to public housing executive directors and multi-family owners clarifying HUD's position on the eligibility of people with criminal records for public housing.


Reentry Education Model (ED)

In partnership with other agencies, the Department of Education (ED) developed a research-based reentry education model, which is now being tested in the field. 

Student Financial Aid Information (ED)

This information is geared to individuals with criminal histories or who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. 

Take Charge of Your Future, Get the Education and Training You Need (ED)

This ED guide is intended for use by incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals. Additional publications related to community based correctional education, partnerships with community colleges, and ED’s Reentry Education model are available here.

Children of Incarcerated Parents

Children in Foster Care with Parents in Federal Prison: A Toolkit for Child Welfare Agencies, Federal Prisons, and Residential Reentry Centers (Federal Interagency Working Group for Children of Incarcerated Parents)
In 2007, 1.7 million children had a parent in prison on any given day, and even more have experienced parental incarceration at some point during their childhood.  Parental incarceration can be associated with financial instability, unstable housing situations, school behavior and performance problems, and social stigma.

Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative Fact Sheet (Federal Interagency Working Group for Children of Incarcerated Parents)
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2007, an estimated 1.7 million children under the age of 18 had a parent in prison, an increase of almost 80 percent since 1991.  The negative consequences for children with an incarcerated parent can be substantial, including financial instability, changes in family structure, shame, and social stigma.  However, research also shows that supporting healthy and positive relationships between these vulnerable children, who are the innocent bystanders of adult decisions, and their families has the potential to mitigate negative outcomes.


Collateral Consequences

Memorandum to Heads of Department of Justice Components and United States Attorneys (Office of Attorney General)
This memorandum was released by the Attorney General on August 12, 2013. It gives direction to the Department about consideration of collateral consequences in rulemaking.  

Attorney General Holder’s Letter on Collateral Consequences (DOJ)

The Attorney General sent a letter to every state Attorney General, encouraging them to review the collateral consequences in their states to determine whether those that impose burdens on individuals convicted of crimes without increasing public safety should be eliminated.

National Inventory on the Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions (DOJ)

A project of the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice, this resource assists lawyers, policymakers, individuals involved in the criminal justice system, and advocates in understanding the sanctions and restrictions that individuals may be subject to in a particular state as a result of a criminal conviction.

Treatment, Healthcare and Benefits - forthcoming

Child Support

PAID (Project to Avoid Increasing Delinquencies) Fact Sheet Series (HHS)

The PAID Initiative of the Office of Child Support Enforcement promotes activities to increase the collection of current child support and to prevent and reduce arrears. This fact sheet series shares research and innovative practices in child support systems.



National Criminal Justice Initiatives Map (DOJ)
The National Criminal Justice Initiatives Map includes descriptions of the major federal reentry initiatives and identifies active reentry grants in each state.

Reentry Funding Opportunities (DOJ)
The National Reentry Resource Center collects news about grant solicitations for agencies and organizations implementing reentry initiatives.

What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse (DOJ)
This resource is a user-friendly, one-stop shop for practitioners and service providers seeking guidance on evidence-based reentry interventions, as well as a useful resource for researchers and others interested in reentry.


Reentry Toolkit for US Attorneys (DOJ)

The Department of Justice created this primer on reentry issues, research, and initiatives for U.S. Attorneys.


Legal Aid Helps Successful Reentry (DOJ)
This resource explains how civil legal assistance can play a critical role for people leaving jail and returning to society. For example, securing an occupational license or an expungement for an eligible ex-offender may make the difference in that individual’s ability to get a job, or preventing an illegal eviction may help to avoid homelessness and keep a family together. In addition, this resource also lists federal programs that support legal services for people with criminal records.


Legal Aid Reentry Project Chart (Legal Services Corporation)
This chart identifies both Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and non-LSC legal aid programs that recently reported offering reentry-related legal services. The list is not meant to be comprehensive. There may be other active reentry legal services projects, and other local legal aid and pro bono programs or projects willing to develop a reentry pro bono program and/or partner with other reentry social service providers.