District of Columbia
Northern Mariana Islands
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Hello, This year’s Second Chance Month takes place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed enormous flaws in our criminal legal system that make incarcerated people and people with records uniquely vulnerable to public health crises like this one. As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to commit to shrinking the oversized criminal legal system so that fewer people feel its impacts, and to mitigating the collateral consequences that come with legal system involvement. Young people are overrepresented at nearly every stage of the criminal legal system—people aged 18 to 35 make up about 30% of the U.S. adult population, but more than 52% of adult arrests and 40% of prison admissions. The collateral consequences that accompany arrest or conviction records—including barriers that prevent people from attaining education, employment, and housing—often last a lifetime, which disproportionately impacts young people with the vast majority of their lives still ahead of them. We need a multi-pronged solution to address this crisis: First, I urge you to help those with existing arrest and conviction records by implementing fair hiring practices and Clean Slate policies so that people aren’t burdened with the collateral consequences of a record for their entire lives. And, second, you need to pass legislation that will cut off the spigot so that fewer people enter the criminal legal system and face this problem in the future. People deserve second chances. If you believe this to be as true as I do, please act on this issue.