End the Injustice of Mass Incarceration

A broken criminal justice system is turning to mass incarceration as a source of cheap prison labor. The formerly incarcerated or convicted then face lifetime job discrimination that leaves them unemployed or in the dirtiest, most dangerous, and lowest paying jobs.

a. Stopping Mass Incarceration and Use of Prison Labor

Policies adopted in the “War on Drugs” and prison expansion have exponentially increased the percentage of incarcerated people in the United States. Recent policies have disproportionately affected African American and Latino communities. The Prison Industrial Complex is comprised of private companies that are benefiting from prison construction and prison labor. (Read more)

b. Ban the Box Campaign to End Lifetime Discrimination of Formerly Incarcerated or Convicted People

The stigma of felony convictions and incarceration follows people long after their court mandated “debt to society” has been paid. 19.8 million Americans (8.6% of the adult population) face incredible hardship and discrimination as they fight an uphill battle to rebuild their lives and stay out of the criminal justice system. In many ways, a felony conviction is like a scarlet letter that can severely limit and prevent a person’s ability to find housing, employment, or to receive student loans or aid from social welfare programs. (Read more)

c. Fair Chance Ordinance

Mayor Edwin Lee signed the Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) into law on March 4, 2014. The law went into effect on August 13, 2014 and was amended in 2018. These amendments went into effect on May 14, 2018.

The Fair Chance Ordinance says employers and housing providers must follow a strict set of rules regarding applicants’ and employees’ arrest and conviction records. Affordable housing providers, all employers with 5 or more employees total and city contractors, subcontractors, and lease holders are all covered by the FCO. (Read more)