WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A bipartisan, bicameral bill authored by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to give formerly incarcerated individuals a fairer shot at finding a job sailed through the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today on a voice vote. The bill is led in the House by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Doug Collins (R-GA). Booker's co-author in the Senate is Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).
"There are more than 650,000 people released from prison each year, people who have served their time, paid their debt to society, and are returning to their communities with the hope of a second chance," Booker said. "But all too often, despite being freed from the physical bars that confined them, they continue to face steep and systemic barriers to full and meaningful integration into society -- and one of the most difficult barriers is finding a job. Our bipartisan bill allows qualified people with criminal records to get their foot in the door and be judged on their own merit, instead of having their resume reflexively thrown in the trashcan because of their criminal record. This bill strikes the right balance between giving returning citizens a fair chance at finding a job and allowing employers to know who they are hiring."
The Fair Chance Act passed out of the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last month, on February 13, for the third time. It now awaits a vote before the full Senate.
For more detailed information on the Fair Chance Act, click here.
Background on Booker's criminal justice record:
Driven by his experience living and working in Newark and serving on its city council and as its mayor, Booker has made reforming our broken criminal justice system a key legislative priority during his time in the Senate. Over the past five years, Booker has introduced numerous criminal justice reform proposals, including: the REDEEM Act, the CARERS Act, the PRIDE Act, the MERCY Act, the Equal Justice Under Law Act, the Gideon Act, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act, and the Marijuana Justice Act.
He was also a key architect of the most sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system in decades, the First Step Act, which was signed into law on December 21. In particular, Booker was instrumental in adding key sentencing provisions to the package after opposing the House-passed version of the First Step Act first released in May 2018.
Booker also successfully fought to include provisions that effectively eliminate the solitary confinement of juveniles in federal supervision.
Last month, Booker introduced a sweeping new bill -- the Next Step Act -- which would make broader reforms to the broken criminal justice system.