WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today at the start of Second Chance Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the harmful collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, and unlock opportunities for people impacted by the criminal justice system:
“This Second Chance Month, we are reminded that too many individuals impacted by America’s criminal justice system never even got a true first chance. Throughout the month of April, we’re elevating criminal justice reform leaders and campaigns working to establish fair chances for those impacted by the incarceration crisis and their families.
“We know that America’s incarceration crisis has robbed millions of a fair chance at life, and locked too many individuals out of the American dream. Nearly half of all adults in the United States have had an immediate family member who has spent time behind bars – approximately 113 million people. Second Chance Month is an opportunity to underscore the urgent need to alleviate the harms caused by America’s incarceration crisis and unravel the complicated tangle of laws that perpetuate it.
“We are proud to partner with local faith-based organizations and coalitions, like Mississippi’s Clergy for Prison reform, and Arizona’s African American Christian Clergy Coalition, which are working every day to combat the incarceration crisis in their home states and deliver a fairer system of justice to communities across our country. FWD.us is committed to working with our partners across the country on efforts to reduce mass incarceration and to relieve the structural burdens on people and their families during and after prison and jail. While many states and local governments have begun taking steps to reduce the number of people behind bars, we have a long way to go before our policies match our aspirations when it comes to ending mass incarceration, providing fair chances, and supporting families.”
Almost 2.3 million people are currently incarcerated in America, and 4.5 million people are on probation or parole supervision. Today, approximately 70 million Americans have a criminal record – and there are more than 44,000 documented restrictions affecting where individuals with a criminal record can live, work, vote, study, and do many other things necessary to lead a full and productive life.