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Mythbusters 2012

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Presentation made at the annual conference of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (May 2012)

Presentation made at the annual conference of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (May 2012)


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  • This is an important tool. You can go to the interactive map and see what resources are available for you.
  • The goal is to provide access before release because prisoners returning to community are most at risk during the period immediately following their release.
  • The goal is to provide access before release because prisoners returning to community are most at risk during the period immediately following their release.
  • The goal is to provide access before release because prisoners returning to community are most at risk during the period immediately following their release.
  • The goal is to provide access before release because prisoners returning to community are most at risk during the period immediately following their release.
  • One pagers that are designed to clarify federal policies. Some federal laws and polices are more narrower than commonly perceived. In some cases, states and localities have broad discretion in determining how polices are applied, or they have various opt-out provisions.In some cases, statutory barriers do not exist or are very limited.And in some cases federal polices contain incentives for assisting formerly convicted population.
  • There is this urban legend the ex-offenders can’t access public housing. Two categories of ex-offender who are barred from public housing: Makers of methamphetamines and persons who are under a life-time sex offender ban. Everyone else is up to the local public housing authority.HUD sent out a letter to all 3200 public housing authorities which encouraged them, where appropriate, to loosen up their registration procedures.Tenant s may not want them and authorities may not want to take the risk, especially if there is not case management services are not provided.
  • There are 5 myth busters covering employment. The first covers the WOTC.$2,400 generall.y for each new adult hire
  • The bond insurance issued ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 coverage for a 6-month period with no deductible amount (employer gets 100% insurance coverage); when this bond coverage expires, continued bond coverage can be purchased from TRAVELERS by the employer if the worker demonstrated job honesty under coverage provided by The Federal Bonding ProgramOnly 1% of bonds issued ever resulted in a claim.
  • Must be closely related to the job. Employer must consider the nature of the job, the seriousness of offense and length of time since arrest.Applies to all employers who have 15 or more employees.
  • If a criminal history report results in an adverse action, the employer must give the applicant a copy of the report before taking the action along with a copy of the notice “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Reporting Act.” They must tell the individual the name and contact information of the agency providing the report. They must also tell the applicant that the reporting company did not make the adverse decision. Finally, they must tell the applicant of their right to dispute the report along with their right to get another free copy of that report within 60 days. If an employer violates the FCRA, it should be reported to the FCC.
  • Many of the reentry myth busters are focused on making sure that the rules on benefits are clear for persons leaving jails and prisons. The next slides present information on a series of benefits. States are being asked to review their policies t make sure that they are fair to all parties.This is not done automatically. The request must be made in advance. There are rules that prohibit the retroactive reductions.
  • The Federal laws in this area is quite strict. The Federal law requires states to have processes in place to terminate parental rights if family re-unification is not possible with a certain period of time. But the law also allows states to have exceptions if The child is in the care of relative orIf the termination would not be in the best interests of the child.Decisions are made on a case by case basis which varies by state.
  • While incarcerated there is very limited eligibility. However after release, those restrictions are lifted and aid is available except under 2 conditions:The offender was convicted of a drug offense while receiving student aid.The person was convicted of a sexual offense.
  • When someone is incarcerated, the correctional system cannot bill Medicaid for health services. State can suspend eligibility for Medicaid which allows it to be reinstated relatively quickly upon release.
  • Laws provides states with the option to opt out of the ban.
  • Social security benefits are suspended if an individual is incarcerated for more than 30 days. However, they can be reinstated upon release by contacting social security and providing proof of release.
  • If a veteran is convicted and incarcerated for more than 60 days, the veteran’s benefits may be reduced or deactivated.VA has 57 regional offices, each has a home and incarcerated veterans outreach coordinator.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Reentry Myth Busters John Rakis, Consultant to The National Institute of Corrections
    • 2. National Institute of CorrectionsThe National Institute of Corrections is an agencyhoused within the U.S. Department of Justice thatwas established to provide leadership, training, andtechnical assistance to the field of corrections.
    • 3. NIC Resources and Services The NIC Information Center, based in Longmont, CO, is a clearinghouse for a variety of corrections-related information. 1-800-877-1461
    • 4. NIC’s WebsiteAn excellent resource for downloadable documentsrelated to all aspects of corrections, a blog, public forums,and training opportunities and resources
    • 5. www.nicic.gov
    • 6. Why Focus on Reentry? 2 in 3 released prisoners 1 in 100 U.S. adults 95% will be released to will be rearrested within behind bars the community 3 years• 1 in 15 African • More than 700,000 • Half will be re- American men annual releases from incarcerated for new incarcerated state and federal crimes or technical prisons violations • 9 million cycle through • U.S. spends $74 local jails each year billion/year on corrections
    • 7. Reentry is a Public Safety Issue, but also: An employment 2 in 3 men were working/financial contributors before issue incarceration. Incarceration substantially reduces earnings. A public health Individuals released from prisons and jails represent a sizable issue share of the US population carrying communicable diseases. Homelessness is associated with a higher risk for A housing issue incarceration and incarceration contributes to an increased risk of homelessness. Of the 20 fastest growing occupations, 13 require postsecondaryAn education issue education. Yet only 22% of prisoners have any postsecondary experience, compared to 51% of the general population.
    • 8. Reentry is a Public Safety Issue, but also:A behavioral health 2/3 of people in prison meet criteria for substance abuse or dependence and 24% have a mental illness. Few receive needed issue treatment while incarcerated or after returning to the community.A family/fatherhood 1 in 28 children has a parent behind bars. 1 in 9 African American issue children has a parent incarcerated. A large number of incarcerated people come from – and return to A community issue – a relatively small number of already disadvantaged neighborhoods.
    • 9. Reentry presents a major opportunity toimprove public safety, public health,workforce, education, family, andcommunity outcomes.
    • 10. Cabinet-level Interagency Reentry Council • Attorney General hosted first meeting on 01/05/11 • 7 Cabinet members and other Administration leaders in attendance • Bi-annual meetings
    • 11. Reentry Council Mission StatementTo support the Administration’s efforts in advancingpublic safety and well-being through enhancedcommunication, coordination, and collaborationacross Federal agency initiatives that:1. Make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization;2. Assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and3. Save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.
    • 12. Reentry Council Goals• To identify research and evidence-based practices, policies, and programs that advance the Reentry Council’s mission around prisoner reentry and community safety.• To identify Federal policy opportunities and barriers to improve outcomes for the reentry population.• To promote Federal statutory, policy, and practice changes that focus on reducing crime and improving the well-being of formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and communities.
    • 13. Reentry Council Goals• To identify and support initiatives in the areas of education, employment, health, housing, faith, drug treatment, and family and community well-being that can contribute to successful outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals.• To leverage resources across agencies that support this population in becoming productive citizens, and reducing recidivism and victimization.• To coordinate messaging and communications about prisoner reentry and the Administration’s response to it.
    • 14. Coordinate and Leverage ResourcesNational ReentryResourceCenterinventoried andmapped majorfederal reentryresourcesgoing to statesand localities www.nationalreentryresourcecenter. org
    • 15. Address Federal Barriers to Reentry Public Housing Barrier to Employment Veterans Access to Benefits Collateral Consequences
    • 16. Collateral Consequences Additional civil state penalties, mandated by statute, that attach to criminal convictions. loss or restriction of a professional license, ineligibility for public funds, loss of voting rights, ineligibility for jury duty, and deportation for immigrants. Vary from state-to-state
    • 17. Collateral Consequences The Legal Action Center (LAC) provides a state- by-state and issue-by-issue overview of legal barriers facing ex-offenders. A “report card” using criteria developed by the LAC grades each state for its performance on key principles related to successful reentry of offenders. www.lac.org
    • 18. Ban the BoxWWW.NELP.ORG
    • 19. What are Myth Busters? First product of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council They are fact sheets, designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in areas such as public housing, access to benefits, parental rights, employer incentives, and more.
    • 20. What are Myth Busters?Each sheet address a common‘myth’ about reentry, rangingfrom financial aid toemployment opportunities.It lists facts debunking the myth,answering commonmisperceptions……describes the details of each,including explanations of differentstate policies……and lists important suggestionsand recommendations for readers.A the end of the form, each sheetlists useful online resources.
    • 21. Who can use Myth Busters? Prison, jail, community corrections, and parole officers Reentry service providers and faith-based organizations Employers and workforce development professionals State and local agencies
    • 22. What Topics are Covered?
    • 23. On Public Housing myth fact Individuals Public Housing Authorities have who have been great discretion in determining convicted of a their admissions and occupancy crime policies for ex-offenders. Whileare “banned” from PHAs can choose.to ban ex- offenders from participating in public housing. public housing and Section 8 programs, it is not HUD policy to do so. In fact, in many circumstances, formerly incarcerated people should not be denied access.
    • 24. On the Work Opportunity Tax Credit myth factEmployers have no Employers can save money on theirfederal income tax federal income taxes in the form of advantage by a tax credit incentive through the hiring an ex-felon. Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program by hiring ex- . felons. An ex-felon under WOTC is an individual who has been convicted of a felony under statue of the United States or any State, and has a hiring date which is within one year from the date of conviction or release from prison.
    • 25. On Federal Bonding Programs myth fact Businesses and Through the Federal Bondingemployers have no Program (FBP), funded and way to protect administered by the U.S. DOL, themselves from fidelity insurance bonds are potential property available to indemnify employers . for loss of money or property and monetary sustained through the dishonest losses should an acts of their employees (i.e.,individual they hire theft, forgery, larceny, and prove to be embezzlement). dishonest.
    • 26. On Hiring/Criminal Records Guidance myth fact People with An arrest or conviction criminal records record will NOT are automatically automatically bar individuals barred from from employment. employment. .
    • 27. Criminal Histories and Employment Background Checks myth fact An employer can According to the Fair Credit Reportngget a copy of your Act (FCRA), employers must get one’s permission, usually in writing, before criminal history asking a background screening from companies company for a criminal history report. that . If one does not give permission or do background authorization, the application for checks without employment may not get reviewed. If a person does give permission but does your not get hired because of information in permission. the report, the potential employer must follow several legal obligations.
    • 28. EEOC’s New Criminal Record Guidance - April 25, 2012 Issued updated enforcement guidance on employers’ use of arrest and conviction records when making hiring decisions Call for employers to assess applicants on an individual basis rather than excluding everyone with a criminal record through a blanket policy
    • 29. EEOC’s New Criminal Record Guidance - April 25, 2012 Guidance provides significantly more detail and direction for employers. Provides specific recommendations for how employer criminal record policies should be designed to comply with Title VII Can be found at: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_co nviction.cfm
    • 30. On Child Support myth fact Non-custodial Half of all states have formalized parents who are processes for reducing child support incarcerated . orders during incarceration. Three- quarters of all states have laws thatcannot have their permit incarcerated parents to obtain child support a reduced or suspended support orders reduced. order.
    • 31. On Parental Rights myth fact Child welfare Important exceptions to the agencies are requirement to terminate required to parental rights provide childterminate parental welfare agencies and statesrights if a parent is . with the discretion to work with incarcerated. incarcerated parents, their children and the caregivers to preserve and strengthen family relationships.
    • 32. On Federal Student Financial Aid myth fact A person with a Individuals who are currentlycriminal record is incarcerated in a federal, state, not eligible to or local correctional institution receive federal have some limited eligibility. In student financial . general, restrictions on federal aid. student aid eligibility are removed for formerly incarcerated individuals (under parole, probation, or those residing in a halfway house).
    • 33. On Medicaid Suspension vs. Termination myth factMedicaid agencies States are not required to are required to terminate eligibility forterminate benefits individuals who are if incarcerated based solely on an otherwise . inmate status. States may eligible individual suspend eligibility during is incarceration, enabling an incarcerated. individual to remain enrolled in the state Medicaid program, thereby facilitating access to Medicaid services following release.
    • 34. On TANF Benefits myth fact A parent with a The 1996 Welfare ban appliesfelony conviction only to convicted drug felons, cannot receive and only eleven states have TANF/welfare. kept the ban in place in its . entirety. Most states have modified or eliminated the ban.
    • 35. On SNAP Benefits myth fact Individuals This ban applies only to convicted of a convicted drug felons, and only felony thirteen States have kept the ban can never receive in place in its entirety. Most Supplemental . States have modified or Nutrition eliminated the ban. Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food StampProgram) benefits.
    • 36. On Social Security Benefits myth fact Eligibility for Social Security benefits are not Social Security payable if an individual isbenefits cannot be convicted of a criminal offense reinstated when and confined. However, monthly an individual is . benefits usually can be released from reinstated after a period of incarceration. incarceration by contacting Social Security and providing proof of release.
    • 37. On Veterans Benefits myth fact Veterans cannot Veterans may inform VA to have request to have their benefits resumed within 30 their VA benefits days or less of their anticipatedresumed until they release date base on evidence are officially . from a parole board or other released from official prison source showing incarceratoin. the Veteran’s scheduled release date.
    • 38. On Veterans Health Care myth fact A Veteran with An eligible Veteran, who is not criminal currently incarcerated, can use convictions VA care regardless of any or a history of criminal history, includingincarceration is not . incarceration. Only when an eligible for VA otherwise eligible Veteran is health care. currently incarcerated, or in fugitive felon status, is he or she not able to use VA health care.
    • 39. On Youth Access to Education Upon Reentry myth fact Confined youth The majority of youth involved easily return to in the juvenile justice system school after have strong aspirations to release continue their education, yet from juvenile . face many barriers that reduce confinement. their access to education upon reentry.
    • 40. Want to learn more? More information on reentry policy is available at:National Reentry Resource Centerhttp://www.nationalreentryresourcecenter.org/
    • 41. Offender Workforce Development Products and Services Offender Employment Specialist Training
    • 42. Offender Workforce Development Products and Services Offender Workforce Development Specialist Training
    • 43. Offender Workforce Development Products and Services Online/Kiosk Job Application Simulation
    • 44. Offender Workforce Development Products and Services Primer on motivational interviewing and how to facilitate positive change
    • 45. Offender Workforce Development Products and Services Career Resource Centers
    • 46. For a copy of this PowerPoint and Links to Resources JRAKIS@GMAIL.COM