"More than 620,000 people are released from federal and state prisons each year and return to their communities. This substantial number is nearly equivalent to the population of Boston annually. While these and other individuals have already served their prison or jail sentences, are currently serving probation or parole, or have completely exited criminal supervision, they still face numerous collateral consequences of their conviction or criminal history upon reentering society.
Alleviating the collateral consequences of conviction can help formerly incarcerated individuals lead more productive lives, secure gainful employment, find housing, and obtain the resources they need to become self-sufficient. Ultimately, these positive effects may benefit the economy overall. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the vastly diminished employment opportunities for men with criminal records “cost the U.S. economy between $57 and $65 billion in lost output” in 2008. These data illustrate the potential economic value of lowering hurdles to employment for people with criminal records. Furthermore, allowing formerly incarcerated individuals to participate in civic society strengthens their connections with their communities and can thereby foster meaningful rehabilitation. Research strongly suggests that relieving some formerly incarcerated individuals from the burdens of certain collateral consequences cultivates successful reintegration into society, helps reduce recidivism, and promotes public safety."
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