Who We Are


Justice for Work is a coalition of organizations spanning the political spectrum. Our mission is to lower the barriers that unfairly restrict economic participation for those caught up in the justice system.

We believe due process matters. Those who were arrested but never convicted should never be unfairly denied access to employment. For justice-involved individuals who have served their time, access to work is a key factor in cutting recidivism and promoting rehabilitation. We believe work is an intrinsic source of worth, earned success and well-being.

Overly-precautionary restrictions on hiring justice-involved individuals unnecessarily burdens taxpayers, incites crime, and negatively impact the lives of thousands of citizens. Prescriptive mandates by the government should be reserved for a small subset of situations where there is a demonstrated public safety risk that cannot effectively be addressed otherwise.

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Focus Areas

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Easing prisoner re-entry

We recognize reentry is larger than employment, and support reforms to ease other collateral consequences that formerly incarcerated individuals face. Economic obstacles can be complicated by the physical and mental health problems, disqualification from educational grants, and exclusion from public housing. Easing barriers to employment is just a starting point for reentry reform.

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Ending policies that enshrine protectionism or otherwise lock people out in the name of public safety.

Unhelpful licensing regimes ought to be rolled back. In most jurisdictions, hairstylists have to undergo more training than police officers. As a policy goal, we should rethink the types of careers that require licensing, reduce unjustified training hours and streamline the process to start work.

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Increasing access to flexible work arrangements, benefit structures, and job training opportunities

Expanding job-training opportunities: Currently, too many open jobs remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. Many of those with criminal records are underemployed—employed in part-time or temporary positions when they are seeking permanent, full-time employment to support their families. The rapid pace of technological change will only exacerbate the problem of Americans being unprepared for the jobs of the future. Further steps also should be taken to help those leaving the correctional system gain access to the coding and technology job fields. 

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