Reentry Council Snapshots and Additional Resources
Reentry Council Snapshots
The Snapshots cover a broad range of reentry topics:
- Public Safety
- Child Support
- Women and Reentry
- Reentry in Reservation Communities
- Children of Incarcerated Parents
- Federal Benefits
- Health Care and Behavioral Health
- Collateral Consequences
- Juvenile Reentry
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions (HUD)
This guidance addresses how the discriminatory effects and disparate treatment methods of proof apply in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing provider justifies an adverse housing action–such as a refusal to rent or renew a lease–based on an individual’s criminal history.
Guidance for Public Housing Agenicies and Owners of Federally-Assisted Housing on Excluding the Use of Arrest Records in Housing Decisions (HUD)
The purpose of this notice, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is to inform Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and owners of other federally-assisted housing that arrest records may not be the basis for denying admission, terminating assistance or evicting tenants, to remind PHAs and owners that HUD does not require their adoption of "One Strike" policies, and to remind them of their obligation to safeguard the due process rights of applicants and tenants.
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.
FAQs: Excluding the Use of Arrest Records in Housing Decisions (HUD)
These FAQs address questions raised in Secretrary Donaovan's Letters on HUD-assisted Housing.
Second Chance Pell Pilot Program (ED)
The U.S. Department of Education is inviting institutions of higher education to join a new pilot initiative that makes Federal Pell Grant fundingavailable for incarcerated individuals pursing postsecondary education and training.
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.
This information is geared to individuals with criminal histories or who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated.
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.
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.
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.
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
Benefits After Incarceration: What You Need to Know (SSA)
This website, from the Social Security Administration, provides information about social security benefits that some recently released individuals may be eligible to receive.
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.
- Establishing Realistic Child Support Orders: Engaging Noncustodial Parents
- Providing Expedited Review and Modification Assistance
- Access to Justice Innovations
- Realistic Child Support Orders for Incarcerated Parents
- “Voluntary Unemployment,” Imputed Income, and Modification Laws and Policies for Incarcerated Noncustodial Parents
Office of Child Support Enforcement Reentry Page (HHS)
This webpage provides a list of resources for parents who are returning to their communities after incarceration.
Second Chance Fellow
In July 2015, U.S. Attorney General Lynch announced Daryl Atkinson as the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) first Second Chance Fellow. In creating the position, DOJ acknowledged that many of the people directly impacted by the criminal justice system hold significant insight into reforming the justice system. In the 15 years since Atkinson was released from incarceration, he has become a leader in the criminal justice reform movement. Read entries from Atkinson's DOJ blog below:
Daryl Atkinson: Return on a Chance (1/15/2015)
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.
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.