ACLU-NH Releases Lost Labor Report
September 3, 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire is releasing a report titled Lost Labor: the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Record and Their Impact on New Hampshire’s Workforce. The report discusses the many barriers that people with a criminal record encounter and that can prevent successful re-entry, with an emphasis on barriers to reliable employment. The report includes the stories of Granite Staters who have struggled to overcome the stigma and collateral consequences of having a record, even years after completing their sentence. As part of New Hampshire’s efforts to overcome the opioid epidemic and the workforce shortage, the report recommends the adoption of fair chance hiring and similar reforms for occupational licensing.
Devon Chaffee, executive director of ACLU-NH: “This report furthers the ACLU-NH’s commitment to common sense criminal justice reform and builds off recent progress in ending debtor’s prison and enacting comprehensive bail reform. Part of criminal justice reform is ensuring that people are able to successfully re-enter their communities after completion of their sentence. This must include access to employment, which is critical to reducing recidivism. As New Hampshire strives to overcome the opioid epidemic and the workforce shortage, we would benefit from considering common sense reforms that help overcome barriers to re-entry.”
Jeanne Hruska, policy director of ACLU-NH: “While the opioid epidemic is foremost a health crisis, it includes a criminal justice component. As a result, more Granite Staters are acquiring a criminal record and experiencing the resulting collateral consequences. People with a record are more likely to be unemployed or under-employed, impacting families, communities, and even businesses. Too often, many of them have their job applications automatically disqualified by virtue of a checked box indicating that they have a record. Fair chance hiring could help Granite Staters with a criminal record successfully re-enter the workforce by ensuring they have an opportunity to explain the context of their record and subsequent rehabilitation to potential employers. New Hampshire communities and businesses alike benefit when more people are productively employed.”
Albert (Buzz) Scherr, professor, UNH School of Law: “This is the first comprehensive report in New Hampshire about a part of the labor market that is very often ignored. Contrary to the too easy stigma, people with criminal records are employable, hard working, and often more likely to stay on the job than other employees. New Hampshire needs to take simple corrective measures to draw this untapped pool of workers into the labor market. Successfully re-integrating those with criminal records back into society benefits the economy, families, and our commitment to second chances.”