The bill, which aims to expand access to apprenticeships for formerly incarcerated individuals, could help lift employment barriers

RALEIGH (October 7, 2019) – Congressman Mark Walker’s proposed Prison to Prosperity Act, aimed at expanding access to apprenticeship for individuals who were formerly incarcerated and other target populations, could help lift barriers to opportunity across North Carolina.

The NC Justice Center supports legislative reforms that offer critical second chances for formerly incarcerated individuals. We applaud Representative Walker’s efforts to initiate reforms that provide a pathway to job security.

Employment opportunities are hard to come by for individuals with a criminal record, even when the prior conviction is unrelated to the nature of employment. A job applicant with a criminal record is 50 percent less likely to receive a call back for a position, and the negative impact of a record is twice as great for Black applicants. Studies show that steady employment is an important factor in preventing recidivism.

Prison to Prosperity recognizes some of the barriers faced by formerly incarcerated individuals seeking employment, as well as the importance of workforce development for such a marginalized population. Second chance employment is a key to preventing recidivism by providing financial stability, restoring dignity, and promoting independence.