The belief that anyone, regardless of where you start out, has a shot at moving up the economic ladder is a core tenet of the American Dream. But what about a second shot? For the millions of Americans who have experience in the criminal justice system, this question is far from settled.
Every year, 650,000 Americans leave prison--but many never escape the legacy created by having been there in the first place. From massive debt accrued while locked up to barriers to accessing either jobs or public assistance upon release, ex-offenders are often relegated to the financial margins. These consequences are felt disproportionately within communities of color, which have been particularly hard hit by the extended drug wars that have been waged over recent decades.
Rebuilding a “second chance society” will require understanding the barriers and removing the obstacles faced by these ex-offenders so they can embrace their role as fully participating citizens, workers, and members of a family. Building upon Monica Potts’ incisive cover story in The American Prospect
, this event explored what it means to re-enter society when society has its doors shut to you, and how we can strengthen economic opportunity in America.Join the conversation online using #2ndChanceSociety and following @AssetsNAF.